A lot of my friends take PrEP. They tell me that it protects them from getting HIV. I am interested in PrEP, but am not sure if it’s right for me. How do I know if I should be taking PrEP?
It’s great that you are interested in learning more about PrEP! Your friends are correct – PrEP helps reduce the risk of HIV infection. Only you can decide whether PrEP is the right STI prevention method for you, but here is some information that can help you decide.
The CDC’s official PrEP recommendation is that anyone who is at risk of HIV infection through sex or intravenous drug use should consider taking it. This includes people who engage in sex work, have an HIV+ partner, have partners of unknown HIV status, or use condoms inconsistently.
PrEP is considered safe for most people to use and generally has mild side effects that usually go away with time. It is not recommended for people with kidney problems.
One thing to note is that you must be tested regularly for HIV while taking PrEP. That’s because in the very rare circumstance you do become HIV+ while on it, continuing to take PrEP can complicate your HIV treatment. It’s also important to remember that PrEP only prevents HIV, not other STI’s, so condom use is still strongly recommended.
If PrEP is something you might be interested in, you should speak with a healthcare provider. The Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective can provide more information about PrEP and provide PrEP referrals. You can call us at 860-278-4163 with questions or to make an appointment.
Ultimately, just like with any medical intervention, it’s your body and your choice whether to take PrEP for HIV prevention. Take into consideration what I’ve told you, and talk to a healthcare provider about it.
Be well, be yourself.
HIV Prevention Specialist