Looking for basic facts about PrEP and PEP -- and the difference between the two? Start here for some simple and straightforward definitions of key terms that come up frequently when talking about PrEP and PEP, as well as a run-down of the science behind PrEP and a few things to know about this new HIV prevention tool.
- PrEP: Short for "pre-exposure prophylaxis," PrEP is an HIV prevention strategy in which HIV-negative people take an oral pill once a day before coming into contact with HIV to reduce their risk of HIV infection. PrEP must be taken for at least 7 days to reach optimal levels of protection against HIV.
- PEP: Short for "post-exposure prophylaxis," PEP is an HIV prevention strategy in which HIV-negative people take anti-HIV medications after coming into contact with HIV to reduce their risk of HIV infection. PEP must be started within 72 hours after HIV exposure.
- Condoms: A type of barrier used during sex. "Male" condoms are worn over the penis, and "female" condoms can be worn inside the vagina or rectum. Condoms are the only tool that protects against both HIV, certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and pregnancy when used correctly and consistently.
- Truvada: This brand-name drug combines tenofovir (Viread) and emtricitabine (Emtriva) into one pill and is made by Gilead Sciences. It has been used by HIV-positive people to treat HIV disease since 2004, and currently is the only pill approved for PrEP for HIV-negative people.
- Adherence: The degree to which an individual takes a medication regularly as prescribed. For HIV-negative people, not taking PrEP daily can lead to increased risk for HIV infection. (Check out these tried-and-true tips and resources to boost adherence.)
This excerpt was cross-posted with the permission of BETAblog.org. Read the full article.