How Does PrEP Help Reduce My Risk of Contracting HIV?

Featured Image

If you feel you're at risk of contracting HIV due to lifestyle factors, it's vitally important that you seek preventive treatment. By taking the proper protective measures as soon as possible, you can substantially decrease your risk of infection. So, for your best outcome, contact us as soon as possible at Health Services of North Texas, in Denton, Plano, or Wylie, TX. We also welcome Denton and Collin Counties residents to come in for a completely confidential, in-person consultation.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis primes your body's immune system to resist HIV infection

Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is clinically proven to be a safe and effective option for preventing infection in HIV-negative individuals. We offer two PrEP-based drugs, Truvada® and Descovy, though your specific course of treatment will depend on medical and lifestyle factors. In either case, you'll receive your PrEP in an easy-to-use, no-hassle form: a once-daily pill.

It works as an immune system catalyst, stimulating the production of virus-fighting antibodies. Additionally, two compounds, known as tenofovir and emtricitabine, more directly attack the virus by blocking an enzyme that it needs to replicate. This is why it's essential that the drug be taken before (i.e., PRE-exposure prophylaxis) engaging in high-risk activities.

However, if you've found yourself engaged in such an activity without first undertaking a course of PrEP, then a treatment known as PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) could be used soon afterward to decrease the virus' ability to infect. So, if you have any concerns or questions, please contact us at Health Services of North Texas, or visit one of our locations in Denton, Plano, or Wylie, TX.

The specifics of using PrEP for HIV prevention

There are two methods for PrEP use. "Event-based dosing" or "on-demand dosing" involves multiple pills taken around the time of sexual encounters. The second method is daily dosing, requiring a short period during which the drug should be taken every day to reach full effectiveness. Depending on your risk factors (type of sex you engage in, injection-based drug use, etc.), this may be seven days or potentially longer.

This medicine is not taken for life, only during periods of heightened risk (weeks, months, or possibly years), be it due to a relationship, drug use, sex work, or other factors.

If routinely used as prescribed, PrEP can significantly cut the risk of contracting HIV through sexual activity by around 99%. In addition, it can also decrease the risk of contracting HIV through needle use by almost 75%. But it's important to note that while PrEP is highly effective at preventing an HIV infection, it does not prevent other sexually transmitted diseases. Therefore, it's recommended that sexually active individuals still take the proper protective measures, like using a condom, to reduce their risk of STDs. And there are some side effects, though they're generally mild (dizziness, nausea, headache) and should clear up within about a week.

But rest assured, our compassionate doctors have extensive experience treating patients with HIV and those facing a high risk of contracting it. So, we're devoted to your best outcome and helping you enjoy your life and all it has to offer, with a happy, healthy future. So, don't let anxiety keep you from the treatment you deserve. We work hard to foster a judgment-free, comfortable environment where you can openly discuss your lifestyle and concerns.

Get in touch with us today to enjoy a brighter tomorrow and more worry-free relationships

The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner you can begin a treatment that will improve your life in countless ways. So, contact us today at Health Services of North Texas. We also warmly welcome Denton and Collin counties residents to pay us a visit at one of our practices in Denton, Plano, and Wylie.