Prevent with PrEP

What is PrEP?
PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis, when taken daily, is a highly effective HIV preventative medication.

Pre – is taken before
Exposure – sex with a partner who has HIV or whose HIV status you do not know; or through shared HIV exposed needles
Prophylaxis – a medicine to prevent infection

How often do I need to take PrEP?
You need to take it once a day at the same time. You can take it within a few hours of your normal time - as long as you only take one pill daily.

How long does it take for PrEP to work?

Ideally start daily dosing of PrEP before having unprotected sex – 7 days ahead for men and 20 days for women. During this period, use other
protective precautions such as condoms, non-penetrative sex or abstinence. It is very important to take PrEP every day for 28 days after the last
unprotected or unsafe sexual encounter to remain protected from HIV.

Is PrEP Safe?
PrEP has been shown to be very safe. PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV when taken daily. PrEP is also safe even if taken with alcohol, drugs,
contraceptives and other medicines.

Who should take PrEP?
PrEP is for anyone who is HIV-negative and feels they might be at risk of getting HIV. Discordant couples may want to use PrEP when looking to have a baby.
Is PrEP an Option for Me?
• Are you having sex with a partner whose HIV status you don’t know?
• Have you had unprotected sex and didn’t use a condom?
• Are you are having sex with partners who may be HIV-positive?
• Have you had sex while under the influence of alcohol or drugs?

If you answered YES to any of the questions, ask yourself this: Can I take a pill a day to stay negative?

If you can say YES, then PrEP may be a good option for you!
Can I take PrEP for one night only?
No. You need to start daily dosing of PrEP in advance with 7 days for men and 20 days for women before unsafe sex. During this period, use other protective precautions such as condoms, non-penetrative sex or abstinence. It is very important to take PrEP every day for 28 days after the last unprotected sexual encounter to remain protected from HIV.

Can I use PrEP and contraception together?
Yes. PrEP can be taken with any kind of contraception.

If I take PrEP, can I stop using condoms when I have sex?
PrEP is an extra HIV prevention option and, where possible, should be used in combination with condoms. Using condoms consistently is still the best way to prevent HIV infection. Condoms protect against STIs and pregnancy, when used correctly and consistently.

What happens if you take PrEP and you are HIV-positive?
PrEP should not be used as HIV treatment. People living with HIV need a combination of ARVs for treatment, given by the healthcare provider, according to their needs.

Does PrEP have side effects?
Some people may experience mild side effects when they start PrEP. The most common side effects include: nausea, headache, tiredness, diarrhea, depression, abnormal dreams, vomiting, rash, problems sleeping, changes in appetite. If you are taking PrEP, inform your Pharmacist about any side effects.

In most people, these side effects go away after a few weeks.

What happens if I miss a pill?
If you miss a pill, take it as soon as you remember, and continue to take daily, as before. PrEP requires strict adherence to daily medication and regular HIV testing. Where possible, it should be used together with other HIV prevention methods. If it is used properly, PrEP will play a role in helping to reduce the number of new HIV infections in South Africa.
Starting PrEP
1
  • Speak to the Pharmacist or Pharmacists Nurse about an HIV and blood test screening
  • Remember you need to be HIV negative to use PrEP
  • Get your PrEP supply for a month from the Pharmacy
2
  • One month follow up: HIV and blood test screening
  • Get your 3 – month prescription and collect every month at the Pharmacy
3
  • Use your prescription to collect your pills every month at the Pharmacy dispensary counter
4
  • Return for an HIV screening test and a new 3-month prescription for PrEP, every 3 months
Taking PrEP
Taken daily, PrEP is an effective additional prevention option for HIV negative people.

PrEP means taking a pill every day and going for regular HIV testing. NO EXCUSES! PrEP should be used with other HIV prevention methods.

PrEP DOES NOT:

  • Prevent other STIs
  • Prevent pregnancy
  • Protect you from HIV after exposure
  • PrEP reduces your risk before exposure
Where is PrEP available?
Pharmacies
Selected clinics
References: www.myprep.co.za; www.sahivsoc.org; www.who.org; www.health.gov.za
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