When you think of HIV prevention, condoms are probably the first thing that comes to mind (which is great, because they should! Condoms are a proven method to reduce your risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections during intercourse.) But there is another option for those who may be at higher risk for HIV—pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.
PrEP involves taking medication to prevent HIV infection. Oral PrEP involves taking a pill once daily to prevent HIV infection in someone who is HIV-negative. Currently there are two pills approved for PrEP:
- Truvada (for anyone at-risk for HIV) and
- Descovy (for those at risk except for people assigned female gender at birth who may be at risk for HIV from vaginal sex).
When taken consistently, every day, oral PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk by about 99%.
The newest PrEP option—Apretude—is given as an injection every two months (following two initiation doses given a month apart). This option is approved to reduce the risk of sexually acquired HIV in at-risk adults and adolescents weighing at least 77 pounds.