PrEP is the short term for Pre-Exposure Profylaxis. It is medication for people who do not have HIV. The treatment prevents an HIV-infection.
PrEP is a treatment you start before taking risks.
When HIV enters the body, the virus needs certain body cells to multiply itself. PrEP prevents the virus from entering these body cells.
You can take PrEP in two different ways:
> On a daily basis: you take one pill at a fixed time. When you're taking PrEP each day, you will stay protected, even when, occasionally, you forget to take a pill.
> Before and after sex: before having anal sex, you take a pill two to twenty-four hours beforehand. Afterwards, you take one pill every twenty-four hours, until two days after the last time you had anal sex.
PrEP is very effective in preventing HIV, when you use it as prescribed.
You decide beforehand to protect yourself against HIV, not during sex itself.
Some PrEP-users experience less anxiety to catch HIV. They enjoy sex more.
PrEP has almost no side effects. Some people experience diarrhoea or stomach- and headache. This stops after a couple of weeks.
PrEP only protects against HIV, not against other STI's. To be fully protected, you will still need condoms.
You have to take the medication on a regular basis and with the necessary discipline.
You have to make time for a regular medical check-up. In Belgium, you are expected for a medical check-up every three months. You will be tested for HIV and STI's, and possible side effects (liver and kidneys).
I started my treatment in December 2022. I'm taking PrEP on a daily basis, every morning at breakfast (tip: Don't take PrEP on an empty stomach!).