Conversation around HIV prevention breakthroughs in pill form has permeated brunch tables, newspapers, and doctors’ offices. But even though pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) have been approved as methods to prevent the transmission of HIV through sexual intercourse or intravenous drug use, some of those who could benefit from PrEP and PEP are still not quite sure how they work. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about PrEP.
What is PrEP?
PrEP is administration of an HIV medication, Truvada (the only one approved for this use to date), to people who are HIV-negative but at high risk of getting the virus. The daily, one-pill regimen has been proved to reduce the risk of HIV transmission, but it must be taken consistently. The Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Truvada, manufactured by Gilead, for prevention of HIV transmission in 2012. The drug has been found to prevent HIV transmission among both same-sex and opposite-sex intimate partners. A study released last June found that PrEP also works to prevent HIV transmission for drug users who use contaminated needles.