All FAQs

KNOW PREP

PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis.It is an oral HIV medication. It is used to reduce chances of getting infected by HIV.
When HIV enters the body it attacks healthy T cells (insert hyperlinks). The virus breaks up the T cells and infects the body. PrEP creates a protective shield around the T cells in the body, preventing the HIV virus from growing in the T cells.
It is highly effective (over 90%) when used daily. But the efficacy drastically reduces when used inconsistently. When PrEP is used with condoms, the risk of HIV transmission is almost zero.
PrEP is a preventive medicine and should be taken by those at risk of HIV but are HIV negative.
People with substantial risk of HIV:
  • Multiple sexual partners - Inconsistent use of condom with partner/partners
  • Recent history of STI
  • History of post exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
  • Partner with the above mentioned factors/habits
In addition, the following groups may consider using PrEP since they are at risk of HIV:
  • Men having sex with men
  • Sex workers
  • People who inject drugs
  • HIV negative partner in a sero-discordant couple where one partner is positive
PrEP, like every other medicine and may have some side-effects. Not all PrEP users experience these side effects. However, some of them are:
Abdominal discomfort:
It’s found that some people (10%) may experience side effects like abdominal discomfort, diarrhoea or nausea. These symptoms are usually mild and go away in a few weeks. Sometimes, it can be avoided by taking the pill with food or at bedtime.
Kidney function:
In a few patients (0.5 to 1.5%), medication may affect kidney function. Hence, it is important that kidney function is monitored regularly through blood tests. In case kidney function is altered, PrEP should be stopped.
Bone density:
In a handful of patients, bone mineral density (bone strength) may be reduced. This occurs in the first few months only.
No experience of broken bones are found among PrEP users
The symptoms return to normal when PrEP is stopped.

If you are feeling any side effects, please consult your doctor immediately.
  • PrEP is safe during pregnancy/breastfeeding.
  • PrEP can be started or continued during pregnancy/breastfeeding.
The usage mantra for PrEP is ‘One pill. Once a day.’ Remember, PrEP should be taken under supervision of a medical practitioner. Don’t try to buy it over the counter or share the medicine with your friend or your partner.
There are various combinations available for PrEP. Please consult your doctor. The doctor will recommend an appropriate dosage for you.
Inform your doctor before stopping. HIV test should be done if you want to restart PrEP
PrEP is not recommended in case a person is:
Not at Risk of HIV
HIV positive
Renal function altered

Again, it is best that your eligibility for PrEP is discussed with an experienced medical doctor.
PrEP is only effective for HIV prevention. It provides about 90% protection from getting HIV infection through anal sex and about 70% protection from getting HIV through infected needles when used consistently. But it can’t provide protection against other STIs such as Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Chlamydia, Syphilis etc. The best way of preventing other STIs is to use condoms regularly and correctly.
Yes. It is strongly advised that you use condoms along with PrEP as additional protection against HIV. Further, PrEP doesn’t save you from STIs, only condoms do.
Of course. Please remember that PrEP provides 90% protection from HIV and only when the tablet is taken everyday without fail. This leaves 10% risk of contracting HIV. Also, PrEP does not provide any protection against other STIs like Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Herpes etc. Therefore, it is mandatory to get an HIV test and tests for STD every 3 months. If you become HIV positive while on PrEP, the PrEP needs to be immediately changed to anti-retroviral therapy (ART). As per WHO, ART consists of the combination of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to maximally suppress the HIV virus and stop the progression of HIV disease.
No. PrEP is ineffective on HIV positive cases. If a PrEP user is diagnosed positive, treatment for HIV (ART therapy) should be started immediately.
Yes, you can.

ACCESS PREP

PrEP should be taken only under the supervision of an experienced doctor. The doctor will decide if you are eligible for PrEP, and issue you a prescription.
Once you have a valid prescription for PrEP from an experienced medical practitioner, you are eligible to buy PrEP from a pharmacy. You can also buy PrEP online. Register for PrEP here. (link).
The best way to know your eligibility for PrEP is to consult a doctor. Firstly, you should be at high risk of HIV. Further, you will need to get some kidney tests before you are put on PrEP. If you have kidney ailments you may not be eligible for PrEP. Also, if you are HIV positive, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C positive, you may not be eligible for PrEP.

ORDER PREP

You can buy PrEP from a pharmacy once you have the prescription. PrEP is not an Over the Counter (OTC) drug. Order it online. Click to order.
You would need a prescription for PrEP from a qualified medical practitioner to be able to access PrEP.

ADHERENCE

Yes. One tablet, once a day.
You must continue to use PrEP if you continue to be at high risk of HIV. If your risk of HIV changes either due to consistent and correct use of condoms or some other change in your sexual practices and behaviour, then you can discontinue the use of PrEP after consultation with your doctor. Do get a repeat HIV and STD tests even after your discontinue PrEP.
No. PrEP is not a one time pill. It takes about 7 days of taking PrEP daily before there is enough medication in your body to provide protection (for anal sex). It takes 21 days of taking PrEP daily before there is enough medication in your body to provide protection (for vaginal sex). Also, you shouldn’t discontinue PrEP right after the risk period is over. Consult your doctor before discontinuing PrEP.
Yes. The current recommendation is one pill every day even if you do not have sex every day.
If a dose is missed, it should be taken whenever remembered. If two dosages are taken by mistake, that is alright, only take one pill next time. You don’t have to take multiple pills if dosage is missed. Just make sure you stick to the daily reminder mechanisms in future.
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