Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), as strongly hinted in the name, is a medicine aimed at protecting high-risk individuals before they come into contact with the HIV virus, but have been tested and shown not to have HIV.
PrEP is not the same as PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis). PEP is a short course of HIV medicines taken very soon after a likely exposure to HIV and which will work to prevent virus from taking hold in your body.
To understand the difference between PrEp and PEP, the contraceptive pill and the morning after pill are both preventative measures to pregnancy, with the former being taken before the act and the latter being taken afterwards.
Despite some people’s fears, HIV is not like the cold or flu virus which are airborne, and it cannot be contracted merely by just being in close proximity to an infected individual. You can only get HIV by coming into direct contact with certain body fluids from a person with HIV and whom has a detectable viral load. These fluids are:
- Breast milk.
- Rectal fluids.
- Semen (cum) and pre-seminal fluid.
- Vaginal fluids.
Both men and women can get HIV and for a transmission to occur, the HIV contained in just one of those fluids has to have entered the bloodstream of an HIV-negative person through direct injection, a mucous membrane (located in the mouth, rectum, vagina, or tip of the penis) or via open cuts or sores.
If you've had a test and confirmed as HIV negative, you may be suitable for pre-exposure prophylaxis medication to reduce your risk of getting the virus. If you are high risk, i.e. your partner is HIV- positive, then PrEP could help prevent contracting the virus together with the practice of safe sex such as wearing condoms. The most widely available PrEP pill to buy online is Emtricitabine/Tenofovir, a generic version of Truvada. To buy PrEP medication like Truvada is often expensive, but generic Truvada is much cheaper and can save you a lot of money.
Using a lubricant may be used in conjunction with condoms. Not only can it boost sexual pleasure, but a lubricant can help prevent vaginal or anal tears caused by dryness or friction, as well as prevent the condom from breaking or slipping.
Water-based lubricants (such as KY Jelly) instead of oil-based lubricants (such as Vaseline or massage and baby oil) should be used with condoms, as oil can weaken the latex in condoms causing them to tear.
Those living in communities where a large number of people have the HIV infection are considered at risk due to the fact you are then more likely to engage in sexual activities or share needles or other injection equipment with someone who has HIV.
However, The World Health Organization have further listed ‘key populations’ for those at-risk for contracting HIV as being: men who have sex with men; people who inject drugs; people in prisons and other closed settings; sex workers and their clients; and transgender people.