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Starting PrEP

By HIS Team

You may have heard a lot recently about something called PrEP. For those of you still curious about it, we have info. For those of you in the know, there’s always more to learn!

Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a drug that significantly reduces the chance of an HIV-negative person getting HIV. When taken as prescribed (daily), PrEP’s protection can be as high as 92%! It’s a relatively new HIV prevention option, but more and more guys like us are finding out about it and adding it to their self-care routine.

PrEP prevents the reproduction of HIV in the human body. Yes, the drug is also a HIV treatment, so for years we knew it worked at doing this. Taking it regularly (daily) before sex though keeps HIV from reproducing, which means it can’t set up shop in an HIV-negative person’s body.

So there you go. PrEP is a very promising addition to the HIV prevention tool box! But keep in mind that taking the pill alone is only part of a self-care strategy. When a person is on PrEP, it’s still important to practice safe sex. This can mean a lot of things:

  • using top condoms or bottom condoms
  • getting tested with your partner
  • talking about each other’s status

Curious if PrEP is appropriate for you? You and your doctor can determine if PrEP’s right for you, as well as other ways to reduce your risk of getting HIV. We all need a doctor we feel comfortable with enough to talk about our sexual life. If this is something you’re looking for, check out our agency directory to give you some medical home options!

Deciding whether to take PrEP means taking stock of what your safe sex practices look like right now. Basically, what are you doing? Practicing monogamy? Using condoms? It also means looking at your risk for HIV. Do you find yourself in situations where you’ve unexpectedly had condomless sex? Are you and your HIV-positive partner looking for additional options to ensure both your health and his?

If you did decide to take PrEP, you’ll need a health care provider who will prescribe and monitor your health. You’ll need to have insurance or find a community program to absorb the cost.

To find locations that can assist you with PrEP check out:

Let’s review how you’d get the optimal benefit out of PrEP: take it daily and for as long as you and your doctor consider PrEP an appropriate part of your self-care strategy (HIV prevention)

  • commit to routine medical care visits and HIV testing every three months
  • communicate your sexual activities and any change in risk behaviors to your doctor
  • monitor and discuss any side effects of PrEP

Of course, Rome wasn’t built in a day and making all this work doesn’t happen in a bubble. You have a medical, intimate, and social world to manage as you discuss options with doctors that work with you and friends that care about you. Take some time and consider what you want. It’s your choice and it deserves respect.

In the end, if you decide not to go with PrEP, pass on the knowledge!

For our brothers living with HIV, pass on the PrEP knowledge to your sex partners, friends, and family. The more self-care options each of us have, the stronger we are as a brotherhood.

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