Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is a new prevention method to reduce the risk of becoming infected with HIV. It is a pill in which a HIV-negative person is intended to take daily as directed by a health care provider. According to the CDC, HIV infection has been proven to be reduced by up to 99% while someone is on the medication. In other words, if someone is having unprotected sex with a HIV-positive partner there’s a 99% rate that they won’t contract the virus. Even though the risk of becoming infected with HIV is relatively low while taking PrEP, the CDC still recommends the usage of condoms. The pill has proven to have no serious side effects for either men or women. PrEP is not intended for everyone, it is for someone who is HIV-negative and at very high risk for HIV infection. This can mean:
- being in a relationship with a HIV-positive partner
- currently being with someone who is a gay/bisexual man who has had anal sex without a condom
- men/women who have sex with both men and women,
- heterosexual men/women who do not regularly use condoms during sex with multiple partners
If someone is not sure if they are at high-risk of contracting HIV they should talk to their doctor to discuss and determine if they are a good candidate for PrEP. Another use for PrEP is to reduce the risk of HIV transmission during pregnancy. This can help women conceive children with HIV-positive partners. PrEP can prevent the transmission of the virus to the mother and child simultaneously. Unfortunately, PrEP is not available to everyone. It is currently available in the U.S., Canada, France, Israel and Kenya. It can also very expensive, but the good news is that people interested in PrEP can ask their medical providers if it is covered under their insurance, since PrEP is covered by most insurers.