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PrEP: what is it, what is it for and when is it indicated



What is PrEP?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV infection is the preventive use of antiretroviral drugs before sexual exposure to the virus, to reduce the likelihood of HIV infection. PrEP's goal is to prevent HIV infection and promote a healthier sex life.

How does PrEP work?

PrEP is a combination of two drugs (tenofovir and emtricitabine) in a single pill that prevents HIV from taking hold and spreading through the body. PrEP does not prevent other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and therefore should be combined with other forms of prevention.

Who is PrEP suitable for?

Physicians prescribe PrEP for populations in situations of greater vulnerability and who have higher risk practices for HIV infection, such as:

     Gay men and men who have sex with men;
     Transvestites and transsexuals;
     Sex workers;
     Serodifferent couples who repeatedly have sex (anal or vaginal) without using a condom or who have repeatedly used PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis), or who have sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

When to start using PrEP?

If you meet the criteria for nomination for PrEP, talk to a healthcare provider and see if PrEP is right for you. You will need to take some tests and, if they are normal, you can use PrEP.

In PrEP, the person must take the drug every day, have regular exams, and get the medication free of charge every three months.

Should condom use be abandoned when using PrEP?

No. PrEP can be combined with other known prevention methods, such as condoms, which protect against all other STIs.

PrEP does not prevent pregnancy and does not guarantee 100% protection against HIV like any other method.