HIV – or human immunodeficiency virus – is a virus that still contains a lot of stigma and misunderstanding, despite the amazing medical advances that have been made in recent years, meaning more people than ever live well with a positive diagnosis. In addition to taking regular HIV tests (which you can also do at home, For information), it is also very important for women and people of all gender identities to know about PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis).
What is PrEP?
PrEP is a medicine that is taken by HIV-negative people of all gender identities before and after sex. It reduces the risk of HIV and if taken correctlySo you do not have to worry about the HIV status of a partner. "PrEP works for everyone – no matter what your sexual orientation or gender identity, PrEP offers nearly 100 percent protection against HIV every day," says iWantPrEPNow co-founder, Greg Owen. This was supported by numerous clinical studies.
How does PrEP work?
If you take PrEP before you are exposed to the HIV virus, it means that there is enough of the medicine in you to block HIV if it gets into your body. The medication used for PrEP is a tablet known as Truvada (or its generic equivalent), which contains two medicines that are often used to treat HIV – tenofovir and emtricitabine.
Women and people with vaginas need to take it daily at least seven days before sex, and then daily during the time they have sex. It only protects against HIV, so you will still need to use condoms or dental mothers to reduce the risk of contracting STIs.
Do you need to use PrEP?
Consider using PrEP if you think you may be at risk of contracting HIV and / or:
- HIV-negative, and
- have sex in a "variety of situations where condoms are not easily used or are not always used."
Advertisement – Read further below
The PrEP assessment tool is anonymous, free to use and offers you all the information you need to make the best choice for yourself and the sex you have. The questions in the tool are meant to help you find out if PrEP can be suitable for you or someone you know. You have to give some information about yourself and with whom you usually have sex.
Several studies have shown that PrEP is effective for women and people with vagina when it is taken as prescribed. "PrEP does not interact with hormonal contraception," explains Greg Owen, "and it is safe to use during pregnancy or breastfeeding." Where can you get PrEP? Generic and unbranded PrEP can be purchased from online pharmacies. And you can qualify for the Mags Portman PrEP Access Fund from Terrence Higgins Trust for free access to the drug. But there are alternative ways to get it:If you live in EnglandPrEP is made available to 13,000 people at high risk in the UK as part of the IMPACT study, which started in September 2017. Visit PrEP Impact Trial to learn more about the test. If you live in ScotlandPrEP has been available through sexual health clinics across the country through NHS Scotland since July 2017. Go to PrEPScot for more information about access.If you live in WalesA three-year pilot project started in July 2017. This is open to all Welsh residents through GUM clinics and there is no limit to the number of people who have access to it. Visit Public Health Wales for more information.If you live in Northern IrelandA centralized service in Belfast currently offers initial consultation and assessment agreements for a pilot study. This project takes two years and there is currently no limit on the number of people who have access to the service.
For more information or advice, please contact Terrence Higgins Trust Direct on 0808 802 1221.