The HIV Prevention Pill -PrEP
You might be wondering why this topic is under women's health. It is because the use of this drug has been long framed as an intervention for men and most people do not know that women can use it too. There have also been controversies regarding the use of this drug and many think it is condoning or promoting risky behavior. As a healthcare professional, I am not to judge anyone. Truvada is an antiretroviral drug approved by the FDA as a pre-exposure prophylaxis. It is a new approach to reduce HIV transmission. Uninfected individuals at high risk of contracting HIV should consider using truvada. These include gay men, bisexuals, and heterosexuals where one partner already has HIV and the other does not. Please note that you have to be confirmed HIV negative to use truvada. It does not cure HIV, does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases, and does not prevent pregnancy. Truvada should be taken immediately after exposure to HIV (within 72 hours) and continued for 28 days. Adherence and consistency in taking the treatment are very crucial in order to benefit from it. If taken daily, it can reduce the risk of sexually acquired HIV by over 90%. While on PrEP, you need to have regular (about every 3 months) follow-ups with your provider for testing and monitoring of side effects. However, it is generally safe and well tolerated by many. More health providers are now aware of this drug and it is highly recommended to discuss with your provider if you are at high risk for HIV infection.