Pre-exposure prophylaxis is recommended for anyone who is HIV negative and who is in an ongoing sexual relationship with a partner who is HIV positive. People at a higher risk of getting HIV might also benefit from pre-exposure prophylaxis (PreEP). Our board-certified, award-winning NY best doctors at Manhattan Primary Care look forward to meeting you and putting you on a path to your best health.
Can I lower my chances of getting HIV?
However, there are now medicines we call “pre-exposure prophylaxis” or “PrEP”. It is a once a day medication and isn’t recommended for everyone. It is generally recommending for high risk individuals based on your individual sexual practices as well as other factors. These medications can work to prevent HIV, but there is always a risk if exposed and using condoms is important.
The most effective way to reduce your risk of getting HIV is to use condoms during sex and to avoid sharing needles. People at a higher risk of getting HIV might also benefit from pre-exposure prophylaxis (PreEP).
The medication (brand name Truvada) is a combination of two HIV medicines:
Truvada is approved for daily use as a pre-exposure prophylaxis, and studies have shown that it can be highly effective for preventing HIV provided it is used as prescribed.
The correct daily usage can lower the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%, and from injecting drugs by more than 70%.
However, failing to use PrEP as prescribed by your physician will make it much less effective as it must be taken consistently.
If you fail to take it regularly, there may not be enough medicine in your bloodstream to prevent the virus from infecting your body. It’s important to realize that this isn’t a vaccine that can help your body fight infection for several years.
Who Should Consider Taking PrEP?
Pre-exposure prophylaxis is recommended for anyone who is HIV negative and who is in an ongoing sexual relationship with a partner who is HIV positive.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis may also be useful for anybody who has an HIV partner and who wants to have a baby. It could be an option to help prevent you and your baby from being infected during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
PrEP is only available on prescription, and you will need an HIV test beforehand and every three months while you take this drug.
It usually takes about 20 days of daily use for the drug to provide maximum protection from HIV.
Side effects are rare, but you may experience:
- Mild headache
- Upset stomach
Although these effects will generally subside during the first month of use.
Many health insurance plans cover the cost of pre-exposure prophylaxis. It is important to continue using condoms while taking PrEP as it doesn’t provide any protection against other STDs. Also, using condoms reduces the risk of HIV infection even further.
Can I Take PrEP After Exposure to HIV?
PrEP can only help people who are at ongoing risk of HIV infection. If you are concerned you may have been recently exposed to HIV, post-exposure prophylaxis might help you, where antiretroviral medicines are taken to prevent infection.
This prophylaxis must be started within 72 hours of possible exposure and must be taken once or twice daily for 28 days.
HIV Testing in Midtown and on Upper East Side
Our board-certified doctors in Midtown NYC and on Upper East Side will test you for HIV and will ask you questions about your sex life and drug use. This is to get an idea of how likely you are to be at risk of getting HIV. They will probably ask questions about things you have done over the last 6 months, including:
- How many sex partners you have had and whether they are men, women, or both
- Whether any of your sex partners have HIV or are at risk for it
- If you have had vaginal or anal sex without a condom
- If you have had sex while using drugs
- If you or any of your partners use needles to inject drugs, and whether you ever share needles
Answers to these questions as well as many others as part of a comprehensive evaluation, will allow the doctor to make a particular recommendation for you and to see what your best options are. The doctors at Manhattan Primary Care look forward to meeting you and putting you on a path to your best health.
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) for Patients in NYC
Please make an appointment at one of our convenient locations in Midtown Manhattan or Upper East Side with our primary care physicians. Our general practitioners and internist doctors look forward to meeting you!