75 HIV PrEP Questions ANSWERED #WorldAIDSDay


Truvada, as you know, was approved by the FDA in 2012 and touted to be 99% effective in reducing HIV infection when taken as directed.

While scouring the net for facts (that I just knew I’d have to compile and edit myself) I fell upon San Francisco AIDS Foundation‘s in-depth site that answers every single PrEP question and can easily resolve fears about PrEP as HIV prevention.

What does taking PrEP entail?
It’s not just simply taking a pill. It’s taking a pill every single day, getting regularly tested for HIV and STIs, and going into your doctor’s office every 2–3 months to get your labs checked.

Is PrEP right for me? Who is PrEP meant for?
PrEP is not the right fit for everyone but may be useful for men, women, and transwomen who are at risk for HIV infection through sex and injecting drug use and okay with the idea of taking a daily pill to prevent HIV.

If you can answer yes to any of the questions below, then PrEP may be one HIV prevention strategy to consider.

  • Are you having sex with someone whose HIV status you don’t know?
  • Are you having sex with someone in a city or region where the HIV prevalence is high—that is, where there are large numbers of people living with HIV?
  • Do you use condoms sometimes or not at all?
  • Do you get often get STIs in your butt?
  • Have you taken post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) more than once in the past year?
  • Are you in a serodiscordant relationship, where your sexual partner is HIV positive and you are HIV negative?
  • Are you in an open relationship or having anal and/or vaginal sex with multiple partners?

Does PrEP protect against other STIs besides HIV?
No, PrEP does not protect against other STIs. PrEP only reduces your risk of getting HIV.

If I take PrEP, does this mean I have to take it for the rest of my life?
No. We recognize that people go in and out of “seasons of risk,” where there are certain times it makes sense to take PrEP and then other times where it doesn’t make sense to take PrEP.

For example, if you start taking PrEP because you are sexually active with multiple partners who are HIV-positive and HIV-negative, and later you find yourself in a relationship where you and an HIV-negative partner are committed to having sex with only each other, then continuing to take PrEP might not make a whole lot of sense for you.

With proper guidance, people can safely start and stop taking PrEP. Think of PrEP as an HIV prevention option where HIV-negative individuals take a pill to prevent HIV infection for the “season” when they are most at risk for being exposed to HIV.

Does PrEP work differently for “tops” or “bottoms”?
Bottoms are already at much greater risk for HIV than tops. One of the great things about Truvada for PrEP is that the drugs are known to be very good at protecting people from infection during receptive anal intercourse. After you swallow the pill and Truvada is absorbed into your body, much of it winds up in your colorectal tissue—ready to fight any HIV that it encounters. That doesn’t mean that PrEP isn’t a good prevention option for tops—it just means it has even greater benefits for bottoms.

If I drink alcohol and/or use recreational drugs, is it safe for me to take Truvada for PrEP?
Alcohol and recreational drugs are not known to interact with Truvada for PrEP. It is safe to take PrEP after a night on the town.



As a bonus, here is a 5-minute PrEP education video you can slay your friends with via WhatIsPrep.org

[video link]

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