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 immune cells. The HIV virus breaks up the immune cells and infects the body. PrEP stops the HIV virus from replicating within immune cells and spreading, thus preventing an infection.
PrEP has been shown to be highly effective in reducing the risk of getting HIV when taken daily. If PrEP is taken correctly, studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of HIV infection from sex by over 90%. PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection from injecting drugs by over 70%. Its efficacy reduces when taken inconsistently.
PrEP should be taken by those who are HIV negative and are at risk of getting HIV. You may be at risk for HIV and can consider taking PrEP if:
  • You have had vaginal or anal sex in the past 6 months and:
  • You have multiple sexual partners and don’t always use condoms
  • You have a sexual partner living with HIV (with an unknown or detectable viral load)
  • You have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection in the past 6 months
  • You have taken post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) in the past year
  • You are considering getting pregnant with an HIV positive partner
  • You are a person who injects drugs and:
  • You have an injection partner living with HIV
  • You share needles, syringes, or other equipment to inject drugs
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 other drugs, may have side effects which are usually mild and temporary. Side effects can include:
Diarrhea, nausea or headache:
These symptoms usually go away in a few weeks. Sometimes, they can be avoided by taking the pill with food or at bedtime.
Less common side effects, which are reversible, include:
Reduced Kidney function:
It is important that kidney function is monitored at follow-up visits with your provider.
Reduced Bone density:
In very rare cases, PrEP may reduce bone mineral density (bone strength).
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 of drugs available for PrEP. Please consult your doctor. A qualified doctor will recommend an appropriate dosage for you.
Talk to your doctor before stopping or restarting PrEP. You should continue taking PrEP as long as you are still at risk of HIV. Also, you shouldn’t stop taking PrEP immediately if you think you are not at risk of HIV anymore. PrEP should be continued for 28 days after an exposure to HIV.
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. PrEP can’t provide protection against STI/STDs such as Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, or Chlamydia. The best way to protect against STIs is to use condoms regularly.
Yes. It is strongly advised that you use condoms along with PrEP as additional protection against HIV and STIs, unless you are trying to get pregnant.
Yes! PrEP provides protection from HIV only when the tablet is taken every day. This leaves some risk of contracting HIV, so it is important to get an HIV test every 3 months when on PrEP. If you become HIV positive while on PrEP, you should start taking treatment for HIV as soon as possible with help from your doctor.
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.
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is taken daily by HIV negative people to prevent acquiring HIV. PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) is for people who may have been exposed to HIV to stop getting infected. PEP is for emergency situations and must be taken within 3 days of a possible HIV exposure.

ACCESS PREP

PPrEP should be taken only under the supervision of a qualified doctor. Your doctor will decide if you are eligible for PrEP and issue you a prescription.
Once you have a valid prescription for PrEP from a qualified medical practitioner, you are eligible to buy PrEP from a pharmacy. You can also buy PrEP online. Register for PrEP here.
The best way to know your eligibility for PrEP is to consult a doctor. You can also read the FAQ “How do I know if I am at risk for HIV” above. Your doctor will help you complete the required tests to see if you can start PrEP. If you are HIV positive, you are not eligible for PrEP.

ORDER PREP

You can buy PrEP from a pharmacy once you have a prescription. PrEP is not an Over the Counter (OTC) drug. You can also order it online – if you have a prescription, Click to order.

ADHERENCE

Yes. One tablet, once a day.
You should continue to take PrEP if you continue to be at risk of HIV. If your risk of HIV changes, you should consult your doctor to talk about stopping 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 to provide protection for vaginal sex and injection drug use. Also, PrEP should be continued for 28 days after an exposure. Consult your doctor before stopping PrEP.
Yes. You should take one pill every day even if you do not have sex every day.
If a dose is missed, PrEP should be taken whenever you remember. If two doses are taken by mistake, that is okay, only take one pill the next time.

Special Considerations

No. PrEP is ineffective for people living with HIV. If a PrEP user is diagnosed positive, treatment for HIV should be started immediately.
Yes, it is safe to use drugs and alcohol while on PrEP.
PrEP is safe to take during pregnancy as well as for women who are breastfeeding. PrEP can be started or continued during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Yes, it is safe to combine contraceptives and PrEP.
Yes. It is safe to be on PrEP if you are taking gender affirming hormones.
Yes, you can safely combine PrEP and anti-depressant medication.
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