1. PrEP may work better in men than in women.
Sorry, ladies! The iPrEx substudy found there could be 20 to 100 times higher levels of the drug in rectal tissue when compared to vaginal and cervical tissue, despite everyone taking the same amount of medication. That’s probably why PrEP reaches peak effectiveness for receptive anal sex after only 7 days, compared to 20 days for insertive anal sex, vaginal sex, and injection drug use.
To account for these differences, women might have to stick to their regimens more strictly if they’re primarily having vaginal sex. In clinical trials, men who have sex with men had very high levels of protection even if a few doses each week were missed – but that may not be the case for women.
Men, ladies, and everyone in between – take your PrEP every day – 7 days a week. Period.
2. You should probably be taking PrEP.
The CDC recently determined that 1 in 4 gay and bisexual men, 1 in 5 injectable drug users, and 1 in 200 heterosexual adults should talk with a provider about PrEP. Sorry, guys! All that rump-humping puts you at a higher risk! Take our PrEP Assessment Quiz to see if PrEP may be right for you.
3. PrEP is actually REALLY good at preventing HIV.
An iPrEx study showed that Truvada for PrEP provided a 92-99% reduction in HIV risk for HIV-negative individuals who took the pills every day. People who use PrEP correctly and consistently have higher levels of protection against HIV.
But that effectiveness depends on how strictly you adhere to your regimen. Based on this research, taking the drug four days a week is associated with a 96% reduction in HIV infection, while taking the drug seven times a week (every day) is associated with a 99% reduction.
4. The doctor is gonna ask some tough questions about what you’re into.
Just close your eyes and let it out, baby. You’re gonna need to talk about everything freaky & kinky so your doctor has a really good understanding of why you need PrEP. A lot of family medical providers don’t know a whole lot about HIV – much less a relatively new HIV prevention pill. And without a lot of knowledge, you may know that PrEP is a better option for you than your doctor does. Don’t be shy about educating them with this quick fact sheet for providers, or find a PrEP-friendly provider.
5. You can stop taking PrEP whenever you freakin want to.
You have options, friend! If you’ve been a little more mild-than-wild recently, or if you feel like the type of sex you’re having is lower risk and is going to stay that way, you don’t have to keep taking PrEP. And, if you feel like condoms are all the protection you need for the sex you’re currently having, you can also talk to your provider about stopping. They’re probably going to make sure that you continue taking the medication for at least 4 weeks from your last potential exposure.