What is PrEP?

When HIV was first discovered, it was viewed with a lot of fear and seen as a deadly disease, even in the medical field . Thankfully, with all the advancement in research and medication, the virus can be prevented and managed better. PrEP is HIV prevention treatment. Here’s more on it: 

What is it?  

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a course of HIV medication that is taken by HIV-negative people to reduce their likelihood of getting infected with HIV. It comes in the form of a pill that is a combination of 300mg of tenofovir and 200mg emtricitabine. 

How does it work?

If you’re taking PrEP as instructed and you happen to get exposed to HIV, then there will be high levels of the medication in your body that will prevent you from getting HIV. You have to take the pill once a day with or without food and it’s recommended that you take it around the same time daily. If you miss the pill, all you have to do is take it immediately but remember, you can’t take more than one at the same time. It is important to remember that PrEP does not cure HIV.

Is it effective? 

Yes. PrEP is highly effective in reducing your chances of getting infected with HIV if it is taken correctly. Even though PrEP helps prevent the likelihood of an HIV infection, it doesn’t mean that you have to stop using condoms because it will not prevent an unwanted pregnancyor other STIs. To prevent STIs, remember to always use a condom. It is also advisable that you have an HIV test every 3 months.

What are the side effects?

The most common side effects that you can get from PrEP are: 

  • Tiredness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headache
  • Nausea/ vomiting
  • Change in appetite
  • Sleeping problems
  • Depression
  • Rash

But most of these side effects go away after a few weeks when your body gets used to the medication. If they don’t, then it is highly recommended that you go see your healthcare provider for assistance.

Who can use PrEP? 

Even though PrEP is meant for HIV negative people, it is usually recommended for people who are more at risk of getting infected with HIV. Here are a few examples:

  • If you’re in a sexual relationship with a partner who is living with HIV
  • Men who have sex with men – and hardly use condoms
  • You are not using condoms with your partner and you don’t know their status (Big NO Choma)
  • You live a high-risk lifestyle like sharing injecting objects for drugs or you have multiple sex partners

Where can I get PrEP?

You can get PrEP at your local healthcare provider or you can ask your doctor about where you can get it.

As you can see Choma, it is important that you keep yourself educated about the different ways that you can prevent getting infected with HIV so that you can contribute towards an HIV-free generation. Don’t forget to share this article with your loved ones so they can also spread awareness about PrEP.

In the meantime, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can always contact me here on Ask Choma send me a Facebook Message, an Instagram DM, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).