One Pill A Day May Keep HIV Away

Truvada A Day Can Prevent HIV

If you are at risk of being infected with HIV, then the University of Arizona Campus Health Service has a drug that will help protect you from this risk. In 2012, the drug, named Truvada, became the first drug to be approved by the FDA in the reduction of risk associated with HIV infection.

Truvada is a combination of tenofovir disoproxil and emtricitabine and a form of pre-exposure prophylaxis, which is also known as PrEP. Cesar Egurrola, lead clinical coordinator at the UA Department of Medicine’s Petersen HIV Clinic, said when a PrEP medication is taken daily by HIV-negative patients, it prevents the transmission of HIV.”

This is especially useful to people who are at risk of infection and though they will have to be tested for HIV regularly, using the drug significantly lowers the infection risk.

“Patients who use PrEP must also undergo routine HIV and STD screenings and regularly visit their PrEP provider while on the medication. There is a similar method of using medication, called post-exposure prophylaxis or PEP, which helps prevent HIV transmission after a person is exposed to it. PEP is most often used after someone may have been exposed to HIV through sexual contact, sexual assault or from exposure to blood, often through needles. If PrEP can be compared to ‘the pill,’ PEP could be compared to ‘Plan B,’ with the exception that, for PEP, the 28-days course of treatment needs to be completed. And there is no weight maximum for PEP efficacy.”

A pill a day to prevent HIV infection

Though the drug is effective, there are some requirements that need to be adhered to. Taking the PrEP drug is a daily affair. Apart from taking the medication daily, it is important that you take the medication 72 hours prior to the HIV exposure for effectiveness. This means that the PrEP and PEP users will have to carefully follow a dosage to be safe.

Both regimens need to be taken daily to provide maximal effectiveness. When taken daily, PrEP has a 92 percent success rate in the prevention of HIV transmission. Per the CDC, PEP is very effective in the prevention of transmission of HIV, but not 100 percent.”

Rising STD Cases

It is important to mention that the use of PrEP and PEP does not protect you from other sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. This is an important point because there is a rise in STD infection cases.

PrEP and PEP only protect against HIV. We continue to see high rates of Chlamydia and have seen more syphilis than in past years. According to the most recent Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2017, rates of STDs have been increasing across the country.

The report showed that over 1.7 million cases of Chlamydia in the U.S. were reported in 2017, an increase of 6.9 percent from the previous year. Reported cases of gonorrhea totaled over 555,600, which was over an 18 percent increase from 2016 and an increase of a little over 75 percent from a record low in 2009. The CDC report showed rates of syphilis rose 10.5 percent from 2016 to 2017, and 87.7 percent of those reported cases were men. Men make up the majority of people in Arizona who have HIV, according to the 2018 Arizona HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Supplemental Report from the Arizona Department of Health Services.”

Access To PEP and PrEP

People are becoming aware of these drugs and this is in some way helping lower the rate of infection. Though there are no massive campaigns through media channels to create awareness of the drugs, word of mouth is during quite well in spreading the news especially among students.

Word of mouth is an effective tool to encourage our students to come in to Campus Health to start PrEP and PEP, or even simply to ask questions, allowing them to become better informed about their options. Students have the opportunity to get the medications at reduced prices, and some are even able to get them without paying out-of-pocket.

There are patient-assistance programs and grants available that can offset the price of the medications. We utilize pharmacies that are well-versed in navigating these programs in order to provide our students with the lowest cost possible, regardless of insurance coverage or lack thereof.”

It is important to protect yourself when HIV is involved. You can always use protection and combine it with PEP and PrEP to ensure that the risk of infection is significantly lowered. For those living with HIV, the best option is to use a HIV dating site where HIV singles are looking for interesting singles like you. HIV dating has been around for a while and is an effective way to reduce cases of new infections.