What is PrEP?
“PrEP” stands for preexposure prophylaxis. The word “prophylaxis” means to prevent or control the spread of an infection or disease. The goal of PrEP is to prevent HIV infection from taking hold if you are exposed to the virus. This is done by taking a pill that contains 2 HIV medications every day.
Why take PrEP?
The HIV epidemic in the Thailand is growing. About 20,000 people get infected with HIV each year. More of these infections are happening in some groups of people and some areas of the country than in others. Taking PrEP could help prevent HIV infection.
Should I consider taking PrEP?
PrEP is not for everyone. PrEP is for someone who have a high risk of coming in contact with HIV by not using a condom when they have sex with a person who has HIV infection.
You should consider PrEP if you are a man or woman who sometimes has sex without using a condom, especially if you have a sex partner who you know has HIV infection, if you don’t know whether your partner has HIV infection but you know that your partner is at risk (for example, your partner inject drugs or is having sex with other people in addition to you) or if you have recently been told by a health care provider that you had a sexually transmitted infection. If your partner has HIV infection, PrEP could be an option to help protect you from getting HIV infection while you try to get pregnant, during pregnancy, or while breastfeeding.
Rates of side effects while on PrEP are low. Mild symptoms such as mild stomach cramps, headaches and loss of appetite may appear the first few weeks.
HOW LONG SHOULD A PERSON TAKE PrEP?
PrEP is appropriate for periods of time when people have greater risk for contracting HIV. Those periods may be short or long or recurrent, depending on the individual. The CDC also recommends that before people discontinue PrEP, we would do ongoing HIV risk-reduction counseling and support. For people who have hepatitis B, we should also discuss whether to continue treatment as a means to control their hepatitis.