Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, What is it, and How does it work?
This is the second article in our series about PrEP or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. Last month we began the discussion by explaning what PrEP is (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) and what to consider when deciding if PrEP is right for you.
In this article, we will cover What Truvada is and how it works and what are the possible side effects of Truvada use.
Truvada is composed of two HIV drugs. These drugs prevent HIV from reproducing in the body. If you are exposed to bodily fluids from an HIV positive person it can prevent the virus from causing and infection.
What Are The Side Effects?
Many people who are taking Truvada for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis have reported that they experience no side effects at all. Some noted short term side effects include headaches, weight loss and stomach problems like nausea, aches and/or diarrhea
There have been reports of minor kidney health problems that resolved when PrEP was stopped.
Data is not yet available about long term side effects of Truvada as a tool for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis..
One additional side effect Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis that is not often mentioned is that some people feel less anxious about HIV and become more proactive about their sexual health.
Other helpful facts:
Don’t take PrEP on your own. You should only take it as prescribed from your healthcare provider who can monitor your health and side effects.
Don’t take PrEP as a periodic preventative, ie over a weekend when you expect to engage in sexual behavior or only at times that you expect to participate in risky sexual behavior.
Other drugs are being studied, but only Truvada and Viread have been shown to prevent HIV infection. Do not take another HIV medication in place of Truvada.
PrEP or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis can be a huge change in your life and can have effects on your relationships. You should consider promoting open conversations between you and your partner about the choice to take PrEP.
In the next article we will cover resources for getting PrEP as well as other vital questions.
Get more information about Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis by visiting the CDC Website by following the link below.