Everything You Need To Know About HIV Prevention Drug PrEP

Truvada is the closest factor we’ve got to an HIV vaccine. It’s a small blue tablet that, when taken every day, is estimated to be as much as 99 % efficient at stopping the contraction of HIV.

This sort of preventative method, technically known as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), was authorized by the FDA in 2012 and has comparatively minor uncomfortable side effects. For that purpose, tens of hundreds of individuals are actually on the drug, which has develop into the cornerstone of many cities’ campaigns towards HIV/AIDS.

However, accessing and affording Truvada isn’t as straightforward accurately, particularly for sufferers dwelling outdoors of main city areas. Plus, there are different essential items of data about PrEP you need to know. Below are some important information to assist hold you knowledgeable.

1. If you’re eager about PrEP, discuss to others who’re already taking it.

Sometimes private tales might assist ease any nervousness. Not everybody is completely snug speaking about Truvada, which is why Eric Paul Leue, a PrEP activist based mostly in Los Angeles, instructed that you just discuss to your friends about it earlier than you discuss to your physician.

For those that don’t know anybody on PrEP (or would somewhat keep nameless), he really useful utilizing a social community like Facebook to attach with others who is perhaps prepared to present you some suggestions.

2. Truvada isn’t only for homosexual males.

In 2016, a 3rd of the HIV diagnoses got here from injection drug customers and those that don’t determine as homosexual or bisexual. Anyone who may are available contact with the virus, both by means of intercourse or injection drug use, ought to think about using PrEP, in response to federal tips.

Some actions, like intercourse and not using a condom, enhance the probabilities of contracting the virus. It’s vital to concentrate on your dangers and be practical about them, Leue stated.

“When you cross the street, and the light’s already turned red, there is a chance that you might get hit by a bus,” he defined. “So I think people need to think less about ‘I am risky,’ and they need to think more about ‘I am risk aware. I understand what I do and I’m honest to myself about it.’”

three. Some medical professionals might not prescribe the medicine.

Truvada is efficient, however there could also be some docs who’re hesitant to prescribe the medicine. Some suppliers would possibly even nonetheless have misconceptions about it — the president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation as soon as known as Truvada a ”occasion drug.” As a consequence, they could defer to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new tips and decline to prescribe to sufferers who aren’t thought-about at “substantial risk.” It’s price having an open dialogue along with your physician about it.

four. Get a number of opinions.

It’s essential to be your personal well being advocate. Leue really useful getting ready forward of your physician’s go to, but when the dialog nonetheless doesn’t go properly (otherwise you aren’t snug asking your common physician within the first place), there are different choices.

This map shows recognized suppliers of PrEP, and should you stay close to a college medical middle, think about contacting their infectious illness specialists. These physicians might “more versed in the medication, and the environment will be more comfortable,” stated Dr. Stuart Haber, a doctor in New York who focuses on PrEP.

5. You might be able to entry PrEP on-line.

Look into telehealth choices should you assume which may be best for you. The University of Iowa is experimenting with TelePrEP, a service the place rural sufferers video-conference with suppliers out of their space. Nurx, a web site and cell app, additionally connects physicians with sufferers searching for PrEP (and contraception) in 18 states. After answering just a few primary well being questions and addressing your insurance coverage, you can be requested to be examined for sexually transmitted infections both at a clinic or utilizing the corporate’s at-home package. If authorized, Nurx then mails you the medicine.  

6. The medicine isn’t 100 % efficient towards HIV and doesn’t defend towards different STIs. 

Truvada isn’t a magic bullet. If you might have intercourse with an HIV-positive associate with an unknown viral load, they usually don’t put on a condom and likewise ejaculate within you, you’re in danger of contracting the virus. Daily PrEP reduces the chance of contracting HIV from intercourse by greater than 90 %, in response to the CDC, however doesn’t completely defend you. Likewise, the medicine gives no safety towards different STIs.

7. There is upkeep concerned.

PrEP includes retaining tabs in your well being. Truvada sufferers ought to go to follow-up appointments after getting the medicine and get examined for HIV or different STIs each three months. Truvada can be best when taken every day.

eight. It’s costly, however you might be able to get monetary assist.

Out of pocket, Truvada prices between $eight,000 and $14,000 a yr, not together with the price of physician visits or lab work. If you might have insurance coverage, you may anticipate related co-pays to these of different name-brand medication. However, there are a lot of methods to offset the prices of the drug, together with a coupon card from the medicine’s producer, that’s price $three,600 a yr (and counts towards your insurance coverage deductible).   

9. The future is coming.

Though Haber stated that topical PrEP is “not prepared for prime time but,” a shot, which might be injected each one or two months, is probably not far off. More broadly, although, the best way we stop and deal with HIV could also be essentially altering.

The CDC not too long ago confirmed that ”undetectable means untransmittable,” which means HIV-positive individuals whose blood exams discover no traces of the virus are not contagious, and a group of molecular microbiologists and immunologists not too long ago examined a passive HIV immunization in monkeys. The battle is way from over, however PrEP is an effective place to start out. To be taught extra, potential sufferers can try prepfacts.org, the PrEP information Facebook group or the Truvada web site.

#TheFutureIsQueer is HuffPost’s monthlong celebration of queerness, not simply as an identification however as motion on this planet. Find all of our Pride Month protection right here.

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