Preventive treatment (prep)
PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, i.e. preventive treatment.
The tablet prescribed is called Truvada and is a combination of two different antiviral substances that are often included in the treatment for people living with HIV. With this combination, you can also prevent an HIV-negative person from getting HIV.
HIV prevention treatment is a good option for people who have sex with multiple partners without a condom.
HIV prevention treatment can also be used, for a limited time, for those who live with someone who has HIV where the treatment has not yet had an effect.
Having sex with a person who has been treated for HIV with a viral load below detectable level does not transmit HIV. In that case, PrEP is redundant.
There could be many different combinations of drugs as PrEP today, but it is only Truvada that has currently been the subject of thorough studies. Studies have been done for almost 10 years now.
Truvada is used as PrEP in the US and in several countries in the EU. Two variants of PrEP with Truvada are available:
One Truvada tablet a day for an extended period of time.
If necessary: 2 tablets two to 24 hours before “planned” sex and then 1 tablet daily for two days – if there was only one sexual occasion. Otherwise, you may continue to take Truvada according to the same principle: 2 tablets before sex as above and one tablet daily up to two days after the last sexual occasion that involved a risk of HIV transmission.
The treatment with Truvada can affect the bone density in the skeleton, it can also, but less often, affect the kidneys. Patients taking Truvada must therefore have a followed up check at least once a year.
Before a person starts PrEP, it must be ruled out that the person has HIV. The risk of HIV transmission during an ongoing PrEP treatment is very low if you take the medication as prescribed. Truvada is not enough as a treatment for an HIV infection so possible transmission of HIV must be detected as soon as possible.
HIV testing before starting treatment is essential, as well as regular while taking PrEP, probably every three months.
To not use a condom means a higher risk of attaining HIV but also of attaining other sexually transmitted infections. Truvada does not protect against any other diseases than HIV.
If you are thinking of getting Truvada on your own, keep in mind that antiviral medications must be taken in prescribed forms with regular check-ups.
Read about PrEP (link to Lars Moberg’s text)
Read more about Truvada in Fass