Yes, patients using PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) should be tested every three months for HIV.
What Is PrEP?
PrEP is a once-daily pill that is over 99% effective at preventing HIV. This medication helps prevent those who are at a higher risk of contracting HIV from becoming infected. PrEP only works if you are currently HIV-negative.
Preparing for PrEP
Before you start PrEP, you will need several lab tests to ensure PrEP is a healthy choice for you, including one for HIV to make sure you are negative. The medication in PrEP is not strong enough on its own to treat HIV. You could also have a small risk of developing a resistance to medications used to treat HIV if you use PrEP after you have been infected, rather than being treated for HIV. For these reasons, it is very important to make sure you are HIV-negative before starting PrEP.
PrEP vs. PEP
If you have been exposed to HIV, it’s important to begin treatment as soon as possible. If you see a healthcare provider within 72 hours of exposure, you may be able to use a different treatment option called PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis), which involves taking a different medication for a month, that will greatly reduce the likelihood of you developing HIV.
When used correctly, PrEP is up to 99% effective at reducing the risk of contracting HIV. You can further lower your risk of becoming infected with HIV by combining PrEP with the use of condoms and practicing other safer sex methods.