What is PrEP?
While everyone should be aware of HIV, certain individuals are especially likely to come into contact with the virus. For example, those who are in a relationship with an HIV-positive partner or have shared equipment used for injecting drugs are at a higher risk than the rest of the general population. In cases like these, PrEP can be used to significantly reduce the risk of contracting HIV.
At Health Services of North Texas in Denton, TX, we use PrEP, depending on the needs of the individual. Dr. Kaushik, Dr. Hudson, and Laurie Mottl, PA-C are all highly experienced in administering PrEP treatments to patients, along with HSNT's Family Practice Doctors and Providers. Schedule an appointment with our office to find out if PrEP may be right for you.
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Is PrEP right for me?
The contraction of HIV can often be avoided by following proper prevention methods. PrEP can be a necessary treatment for individuals of all genders, sexualities, and ages, depending on their lifestyles. Potential patients should weigh over 77 pounds and test negative for HIV before beginning treatment. It can be especially important for the following groups of people:
Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM) and have/had:
An HIV-positive partner*
A recent STI (particularly syphilis)
A high number of sex partners
Inconsistent/no condom use
Experience with commercial sex work
Heterosexual Men and Women and have/had:
1 – 5. Same as above
- Lived in a high-prevalence area
People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) and have/had:
An HIV-positive injection partner
Shared injection equipment
Received drug treatment and are still injecting
How Does PrEP Work?
PrEP is as simple as taking a pill once a day. The daily consumption of this pills can keep the HIV virus from permanently infecting the body when it is exposed. In fact, some studies have shown that PrEP can reduce the risk of contracting HIV via sex by about 99% and via injection drug use by around 74%. However, the pill must be taken daily or it will not be as effective. Additionally, because PrEP only shields the body against HIV, it is still important to use condoms in order to protect yourself from other STDs and in case you have not been taking PrEP consistently.
How soon is treatment effective?
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), PrEP treatments reach optimal effectiveness at preventing the contraction of HIV within about seven days of daily use.
Do I have to take PrEP medication every day?
Yes, you must take PrEP medication every day, or it will lose its effectiveness.
Can you still get other STDs while taking PrEP?
Yes, you can. While PrEP can be effective at reducing your chances of contracting HIV, you can still get other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and should always use protection.
Are there any side effects?
The most common side effects experienced with emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate can include:
- Weight loss
Protect Your Health
Don't let HIV get in the way of your relationships. PrEP is a safe, effective way to reduce the risk of contracting HIV for those that find themselves in high-risk situations. Our staff members strive to create a safe atmosphere, free from any judgment or worry, where patients can feel comfortable discussing the details of their life. Schedule a consultation at Health Services of North Texas today to discuss your options openly with our talented, caring team of professionals that will listen.
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