May 20, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

Complete Canadian News World

Who is a good candidate for PrEP?

PrEP is a medication available to HIV-negative people who want to prevent getting HIV. It involves taking a prescription pill daily that contains two different drugs. Patients must take medicine exactly as prescribed to be effective and should always be taken for at least seven days before exposure. Interested candidates must be willing to take a pill daily to receive adequate protection against HIV. In addition, it requires consistent appointments with medical professionals, who will continue to monitor and assess your health while on the medication.

Is this medication legal?

Yes. This medication is covered under Health Canada and can be prescribed by a healthcare provider. This prescription may be covered by private or public drug plans, which can increase accessibility to patients.

PrEP can be taken with hormone-based birth control methods (for example, the pill, patch, or IUD). It is safe to use both at the same time. You can also use PrEP with hormone therapy, as no interactions have been established.

While PrEP protects against HIV, it does not protect against pregnancy or other STIs. Condoms should always be worn to prevent STIs transferred through genital fluids. These include gonorrhea and chlamydia. Although condoms are less effective with HPV, herpes, and syphilis, they still offer some protection overall.

Who should consider this medication?

This medication must be taken by HIV-negative people wanting to protect themselves against HIV. Anyone who engages in unprotected sex doesn’t know the HIV status of their partner, or anyone who is with an HIV-positive partner that’s unsuccessful with treatment is an ideal candidate for this medicine. This medicine can also be used by couples wanting to have a baby together, despite an HIV-positive status. This medication is also appropriate for injection drug use or for individuals who currently share needles with others.

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It’s always important to be honest and truthful with your healthcare provider when starting a new pharmaceutical medication. Talk to them about your sexual history, overall health, and any concerns you have with your current lifestyle.

When used correctly, this medication is highly effective. It is extremely rare to get HIV if a person is taking PrEP correctly. It’s important to remember that any individual wanting to start PrEP will need to undergo HIV testing to ensure they are not HIV-positive. Positive users taking this medication may face difficulties with their condition over extended periods. Drug resistance has occurred in the past.

Age Limitations with PrEP Medications

These medications are currently available for both men and women. The approved age range is adult, with many healthcare providers prescribing to at-risk youth or adolescents. There is a minimum weight of 77 pounds to take the medication. If you’re unsure of whether this medication is appropriate for you, talk to your doctor.

STI Testing is Mandatory

Anyone using a PrEP medication is required to undergo continuous monitoring and screening throughout the year. Most frequently, this includes a complete STI panel every three months to ensure there are no problems. Patients are also monitored for any PrEP side effects while taking the medicine.

What side effects do users experience?

Most commonly, headache, nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, and stomach pain have been reported. Most side effects will resolve on their own. It’s important to tell your doctor about any ongoing side effects, issues, or problems you’ve had on the drug.

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Who cannot take this medication?

Anyone with a previous history of hepatitis B infection, liver problems, kidney issues, or bone density mishaps should speak to their doctor before starting this medication. It’s crucial to weigh the risk and benefits of this medication prior to starting the prescription. Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning on becoming pregnant.

Can you stop taking this medication?

You can stop taking PrEP medicine if you believe you no longer benefit from it. The pills can be taken for short intervals or more extended periods of time, which allows complete control over starting and stopping. You may want to stop taking the medication if you believe your lifestyle has changed enough that your risk of HIV is low. If you find yourself forgetting to take the pills regularly, consider setting an alarm on your phone.

What if I don’t have a continuous risk of HIV?

This medication is for people who have an ongoing continuous risk for HIV. This medication is meant to be taken daily without interruption. It is not meant for people who have been previously exposed. If you have been exposed to HIV, talk to your doctor about PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis).