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Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a once a day medication that can significantly reduce the risk of contracting HIV infection for sexually active individuals or those who inject drugs.
PrEP comes in two different medications, Truvada and Descovy. Both medications are for individuals who are at risk of contracting HIV. Descovy, however has only been tested with men who have sex with men (MSM) and excludes those at risk from vaginal sex or injectional drug use.
When an individual is exposed to HIV, the virus attacks the body’s CD4 T Cells and uses those cells to make copies of itself. These medications work to prevent the virus from establishing a permanent infection by creating a protective barrier around your CD4 T Cells.
When taken daily, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV. Studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken daily. Among people who inject drugs, PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV by at least 74% when taken daily. PrEP is much less effective if it is not taken consistently.
As PrEP only protects against HIV, condoms are important for the protection against other STDs.
Condoms are also an important prevention strategy if PrEP is not taken consistently.
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