Sexually Transmitted Infections
What is PrEP?
PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. This involves taking medication to prevent HIV infection prior to potential exposure to HIV, unlike post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) which is taken after possible HIV exposure.
PrEP is a combination of two drugs; tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine, which are 2 antiretrovirals that has been used successfully to control and manage HIV for many years. This has been shown to be highly effective in preventing HIV infection if taken correctly.
There are two ways to take PrEP, either daily or ‘on demand’. Daily PrEP is taken one tablet once a day. It needs to be taken same time every day and if PrEP is missed at times of unprotected sex, there is a risk of HIV infection. ‘On demand’ PrEP also known as event based PrEP means taking tablets just before (2 tablets 2 to 24 hours before the sex) and a little while after planned sexual activity (2 further doses in the 48 hours after sex).
PrEP only protects against HIV and it doesn’t protect against other sexually transmitted infections. Therefore PrEP is not a replacement for condoms and should therefore be used jointly with PrEP.
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More Sexually Transmitted Infections Q&A
How well do condoms help protect against HIV infection?
Does using a condom only some of the time offer any protection from STIs, including HIV?
What is the difference between a STD and STI?
Are condoms the only effective way of preventing sexually transmitted infections?
Does pregnancy place women at increased risk of becoming infected with HIV?
I get cold sores. Can I pass these onto others if I give someone else oral sex?
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