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Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

HIV PrEP Medication

Pre-Exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) Singapore?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis is a general term used to describe HIV drugs that are taken by those who are at risk of contracting HIV to prevent infection. These medications are usually taken daily and are effective in preventing HIV from taking hold and spreading in your body. When used consistently, PrEP has a very high success rate in preventing HIV from sexual encounter. However, it is imperative to note that when not used appropriately, PrEP is far less effective.

Research shows that when taken daily, PrEP minimizes your risk of contracting HIV from intercourse by nearly 99%. And among individuals who inject drugs, PrEP reduces their risk of getting infected with HIV by at least 74% when used consistently.

What is PrEP?

As earlier explained, pre-exposure prophylaxis refers to a course of medication that is taken by those who are at risk of getting infected by HIV to help reduce their chances of contracting the deadly virus. In terms of its effectiveness, studies have proven that PrEP is highly effective in preventing HIV infections. However, these drugs need to be used according to the doctor’s prescription to be effective.

Is PrEP a vaccine?

PrEP is not an HIV vaccine. What’s more, it doesn’t work similarly to a vaccine. Whereas a vaccine works by showing your body how to fend off infection for years, PrEP is orally taken daily to prevent HIV infections. When you routinely take PrEP regularly, the presence of the drug in your body can potentially bar the virus from attacking and spreading in your body. But, if you fail to use them daily, there may not be sufficient medicine in your bloodstream to fight HIV.

What is the success rate of PrEP?

According to various clinical studies, PrEP minimizes your risk of contracting HIV from intercourse by nearly 99% when taken correctly.. Bearing in mind that PrEP doesn’t offer any form of protection against other sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV, you should always use protection (condoms) any time you are having sex.

How safe is PrEP?

When rightly used, PrEP is generally safe. However, just like any other type of drug, users will always experience mild side effects such as nausea. However, these mild symptoms usually subside with time. So far, no serious side effects have been reported. As always, if you experience any side effects while using PrEP, don’t hesitate to inform our doctor.

How can I start using PrEP?

It is important to mention that PrEP should only be used after consulting a doctor. Based on your clinical history, our doctor will determine whether PrEP is the best HIV prevention strategy for you or not. Also, before you start using this type of medication, you will have to conduct an HIV test to ascertain that you don’t have the disease already.

Should I consider taking PrEP?

As we earlier explained, PrEP should only be used by those people who are at risk of contracting HIV from sex. However, these medications need to be taken daily and may not be ideal for everyone. PrEP may also cause some effects such as nausea, but these usually disappear within no time.

When using PrEP, can I stop using condoms when having sex?

You should never stop using protection just because you are taking PrEP. If you were not aware, PrEP doesn’t offer any protection against other sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea among others.

If used appropriately during intercourse, condoms are very effective in preventing HIV as well as some sexually transmitted diseases that can be transmitted through body fluids such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. Unfortunately, condoms provide lesser protection against STDs that are spread via skin-to-skin contact, including genital herpes, human papillomavirus, and perhaps syphilis.

How long will you be required to use PrEP?

PrEP should be taken daily to ensure they work as anticipated. However, some people usually stop using it for many reasons, including:

  • If you have made some changes in your sexual life and you feel like your risk of contracting the disease is significantly lower, you may want to stop using it altogether.
  • If you have experienced some adverse effects that tend to interfere with your daily life, or if blood tests reveal that your body is perhaps reacting to the PrEP drug negatively, you may need to stop using the drug.
  • If you are not comfortable with the idea of taking daily pills or usually forget to take your daily pill, other methods of HIV prevention may work better for you.

Can the long-term use of PrEP result in potentially harmful side effects?

In HIV negative individuals who have used PrEP for five years, no significant adverse effects have been so far reported.

When used daily and according to doctor’s instruction, PrEP is very effective in preventing HIV infection. However, it is worth mentioning that this medication usually attains optimum protection against HIV after nearly one week of daily use. There are other ways that you can take PrEP. Speak to our doctor for more information!

Can you start using PrEP even after you have sexual contact with someone who is positive HIV?

As earlier stated, pre-exposure prophylaxis should only be used by those people who are HIV negative but are at great risk of contracting the deadly virus. However, if you have just been exposed to HIV, PEP can be a great option for you. Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) simply means taking antiretroviral medication in the aftermath of a potential HIV exposure to ensure you don’t contract the virus. Important to note is that post-exposure prophylaxis drugs must be taken within three days of potential exposure to the virus.

Nowadays, people don’t have to worry much about HIV. Even though there is no cure for the virus, there are a number of ways through which you can protect yourself against it and PrEP is just one of those measures.

If you think that you may be at risk of contracting HIV, you should consider speaking to our doctor about PrEP!

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