Having spent last week’s USA Thanksgiving holiday with Aaron, my spouses’ family, I was strongly urged by his older brother, David, to write an informative posting on the “prevention pill for HIV.” I encouraged David to create a draft for this entry here today which he diligently undertook. This posting on ReNude Pride is a product of our joint collaboration and in advance I express my appreciation to David Peterson for all of his assistance.
The prevention pill for HIV is what is commonly referred to as PrEP. PrEP is sort of an abbreviation for pre-exposure prophylaxis or a pill that can be taken once a day and is more than 90% effective in stopping the sexual transmission of HIV.
The pill’s marketable name is Truvada and it is manufactured by Gilead Sciences. It contains the medicines emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. The status of being HIV- (not infected) is necessary in order for the prescription to provide the desired benefit of stopping the spread of the virus through sexual interaction. Truvada is prescribed for both men and women.
Truvada is not recommended as a HIV prevention tool for transmission through substance use and needle-sharing. Currently, that type of usage remains as a very high risk category for HIV infection.
Prior to issuing a prescription for PrEP, most physicians (doctors) administer an HIV test the fact that the individual is indeed virus-free. Follow-up tests are given periodically (generally about every three months) to verify the status. Truvada prescriptions are given to persons weighing a minimum of 77 pounds (35 kilograms).
PrEP does not prevent other sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). It does not prevent pregnancy. These are two often misinterpreted benefits of PrEP. It only protects from HIV infection.
Doctor’s prescribing PrEP to their patients stress that condoms are still necessary for the protection against HIV. PrEP’s high effectiveness in combating HIV (more than 90%) isn’t an absolute guarantee. The use of a latex condom during sexual activities raises the effectiveness rating to almost 100%.
Author’s Note: I again want to express my appreciation to David Peterson, the brother of my spouse, for his draft and editing of this post.
David Peterson, Guest author