When it comes to getting the right protection when we’re between the sheets, many of us are creatures of habit. Condoms are the usual go-to for protection against catching nasties, but what if we told you that there is a pill that can protect you against HIV? Well there is, and it’s called PrEP.
It’s always nice to have options, and many of us will welcome the news that there is a pill that protects you from HIV, although it’s important to note that you still need to protect yourself against STIs.
So, what is PrEP?
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a drug taken by HIV-negative people before and after sex that reduces the risk of getting HIV. Although PrEP cannot protect you from other STIs and it is not a form of contraception, it does offer you solid protection against HIV.
Not many people know about PrEP, so we bring you SIX reasons why you should consider using PrEP to protect yourself from HIV.
Choice, choice, choice!
PrEP means more choices on what you can use to prevent HIV. It’s also easy to use. The more choice we have, the more opportunities we have to stop HIV. Alongside condoms, testing and treatment, PrEP is a great addition to the HIV prevention tool box.
PrEP has been scientifically proven to be highly effective at preventing HIV. How effective, I hear you ask?
Taking PrEP daily means that there is enough drug inside you to block HIV if it gets into your body. PrEP offers women almost 100% protection against HIV when taken correctly.
Black African women are disproportionately affected by HIV
According to the most recent statistics Black African women accounted for 39% of all women newly diagnosed of HIV, followed by white women accounting for 26%.
This is why it’s now more important than ever to be sure you’re taking the right precaution to protect yourself against HIV.
Prep is safe
The drugs used in PrEP are the same drugs that are prescribed to thousands of people living with HIV every year. They’re very safe and serious side effects are very rare.
Most people don’t experience any side effects, those who do find they usually pass in a week or two. Some people experience nausea, headaches or tiredness and, very rarely, the medication can affect kidney function. As a precaution, people taking PrEP have regular kidney function tests.
Also, you can take PrEP while pregnant and it’s safe to take PrEP while breast feeding.
You can still take PrEP if you are on ‘the pill’
PrEP does not interact with most other medicines; it can also be taken by people who are taking hormonal contraceptives and most over-the-counter medications.
You can still enjoy a glass of wine!
PrEP can be taken when drinking alcohol, so yes you can treat yourself to a glass of wine without any worries.
To find out more about all things PrEP related visit the It Starts With Me website.
PrEP is available free for black African women from some sexual health clinics as part of the IMPACT trial in England. For more information visit: https://www.prepimpacttrial.org.uk/
Some people are also ordering generic versions of PrEP online. You can find out more information from: https://www.iwantprepnow.co.uk/