What Should You Know About HIV Prevention Pills?

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HIV is an incurable illness that can progress to AIDS if left untreated. Fortunately, HIV prevention pills can lower your risk of contracting HIV. People who are especially at risk of contracting this virus may wish to take HIV prevention pills to protect themselves. These types of pills are also known as pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP. Here are three things that you should know about HIV prevention pills if you're interested in starting this type of medication:

1. HIV prevention pills are often taken on a daily basis. 

HIV prevention pills should be taken as your doctor prescribes. For most people, this will mean taking PrEP on a daily basis. Daily use has many benefits, such as conferring protection against HIV during unplanned sexual encounters and sessions of intravenous drug use. Taking HIV prevention pills every day can also help you remember to take them as needed since it will become part of your routine. However, men who have sex with men also have the option of taking HIV prevention pills during a window of time before and after their sexual encounters. 

2. You may experience some side effects as a result of HIV prevention pills.

You might experience some minor side effects as a result of taking HIV prevention pills. Some people have headaches, stomachaches, or diarrhea as a result of this medication. You may also feel tired after taking HIV prevention pills. Fortunately, all of these side effects can be addressed with over-the-counter medication to reduce your discomfort. Many people also find that their side effects abate over time. If your side effects are particularly troublesome, you can talk to your doctor to find solutions. However, many people find that the benefits of PrEP outweigh the potential side effects.

3. HIV prevention pills will drastically reduce your risk of contracting HIV.

According to the United States Center for Disease Control, PrEP can reduce your risk of catching HIV from sexual intercourse by 99%. PrEP can also drastically reduce your risk of catching HIV from intravenous drug use. However, in order to achieve these benefits, you'll need to take your pills as prescribed. You should also be aware that while HIV prevention pills are highly effective, there is still a small chance that you may catch HIV. Your doctor may ask you to schedule appointments for regular HIV tests while you're on this medication in order to identify possible infections as soon as possible.

For more information on an HIV prevention pill, contact a doctor near you.