What Is PrEP?
PrEP, short for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, is a medicine that is used to prevent persons from contracting HIV.
But isn’t that PEP? NO! If you’ve done any research on HIV prevention and treatments, you have probably seen the terms PrEP and PEP. While these two terms look quite similar, they are very different.
To learn more about the difference between PrEP and PEP click here: https://prepdaily.org/whats-the-difference-between-prep-and-pep/
PrEP is for persons who DO NOT live with HIV and are at risk of contracting HIV. This can include:
- Person who have a sexual partner who is living with HIV.
- Persons who do not always use condoms
- Person who have been diagnosed with another STI within the last 6 months
- Persons who share needles or other drug injection equipment with PLHIV
PrEP is a safe, highly effective medicine to prevent the spread of the virus, BUT it is does not protect against any other sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis or gonorrhea. Only condoms can protect from other STIs.
How Does PrEP Work?
It is important that you review the HIV Life Cycle to understand how HIV replicates itself in your body. Knowing this will help you to understand why PrEP is helpful and important.
When PrEP is taken as prescribed, which is usually daily, it builds up in the places where the HIV cells can enter such as the bloodstream, and adds a layer of protection to your CD4 cells. So, if HIV cells do enter the body, while they may still be able to attach themselves to CD4 cells, they are unable to create copies of themselves to spread throughout your immune system. This allows the body to fight the virus before it seriously weakens your immune system, and prevents the permanent infection of HIV.
When a person takes PrEP as prescribed, it ensures that there is enough of the drug in your body to stop HIV cells from replicating. When taken correctly, it is extremely rare for HIV infection to happen in that person.