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PrEP Q&A

12 september 2018

Questions & answers

What is PrEP?

PrEP means Pre-exposure Prophylaxis. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an HIV prevention strategy where HIV-negative individuals take anti-HIV medications before coming into contact with HIV to reduce their risk of becoming infected. The medications work to prevent HIV from establishing infection inside the body.

How does PrEP work?

PrEP protects the user from HIV. PrEP use can block HIV replication from occurring and prevent HIV from establishing infection in the body.

How do you use PrEP?

For people who are not regularly at risk on-demand PrEP may be an option. On-demand PrEP refers to a dosing schedule where PrEP is taken intermittently, only around times of sexual activity instead of every day.

PrEP is a powerful HIV prevention tool and can be combined with condoms and other prevention methods to provide even greater protection than when used alone. PrEP should be taken on a daily basis and may not reach its full ability to protect against HIV until several weeks after it is begun.

Who is PrEP meant for?

PrEP is not the right fit for everyone. Only the group of people with an increased risk of contracting HIV are qualified. In the Netherlands this group mainly consists of men who have sex with men with additional risk factors for HIV infection. Only people who are HIV-negative (those who do not have HIV) can use PrEP. Sometimes the use of PrEP is also not permitted if you have certain diseases.

Effectiveness

Truvada for PrEP provides 90% > reduction in HIV risk for HIV-negative individuals who take the pills every day as directed. If a daily dose is missed, the level of HIV protection may decrease. It only works if you take it. People who use PrEP correctly and consistently have higher levels of protection against HIV. PrEP does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections (STI) or pregnancy, which means that the use of condoms is still necessary.

How can i stay informed about new PrEP projects?

Please check out our website regulary.

Am I protected against HIV if I take PrEP tablets directly after having anal sex without using a condom?

If you only take PrEP tablets after sex, you are not sufficiently protected against HIV. When using PrEP, it is necessary to take two tablets before having unprotected sex, followed by one tablet daily until 48 hours after the last time episode of unprotected seks (see information about PrEP). If you have not taken PrEP before sex and you have had unprotected anal sex with someone of whom you do not know the HIV status or who is HIV positive and not on treatment, it is advisable to have checked whether you need PEP (see information about PEP). PEP stands for Post-Exposure Prophylaxis. PEP consists of three different HIV medications you have to take for four weeks. During office hours you can visit the GGD STI outpatient clinic for PEP, outside office hours you can visit a hospital’s emergency department.

I have had anal sex without using a condom, but did not take my two PrEP-tablets beforehand. What should I do?

If you forgot to take your PrEP before sex and you have had unprotected anal sex with someone of whom you do not know the HIV status or who is HIV positive and not on treatment, it is advisable to have checked whether you need PEP (see information about PEP). PEP stands for Post-Exposure Prophylaxis. PEP consists of three different HIV medications you have to take for four weeks. During office hours you can visit the GGD STI outpatient clinic for PEP, outside office hours you can visit a hospital’s emergency department. By taking PrEP tablets only after anal sex without using a condom, you are not sufficiently protected against an HIV infection.

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