Maybe you only use condoms sometimes, or seldom, or don’t use them at all. Maybe you want to lower your risk of getting HIV, but condoms don’t always work for you. In that case, PrEP can be something that can help you. Using PrEP means taking a medicine that lowers the risk of getting HIV. PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. The medicine is named Truvada, but there are also cheaper versions with other names from different companies.
- If you want to use PrEP, you have to be completely sure you do not have the HIV virus.
- PrEP gives a very high level of protection, but not 100%.
- Forgetting a pill = less effective protection. Take your pills every day.
- PrEP does not protect against chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis. Condoms are the only thing that lower the risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases.
- PrEP can have side effects.
- It is important to get check-ups while taking the medicine. Ask your doctor to check up the current recommendations from “Referensgruppen för antiviral terapi”.
PrEP is an approved medical product in Sweden, and it is part of the high-cost protection system. This means that you never pay more than SEK 2 200 per year for prescription medicine. Right now, in January 2018, it is extremely difficult to get PrEP through the health care system, but this may change. Check en.sexperterna.org for up-to-date information.
It’s easy to forget to take your medicine. Here are some ways to help you remember:
- Set a daily alarm on your mobile phone. Either with the regular alarm clock or a special medicine app.
- Keep your medicine in your bag, or hang a small container on your keyring.
- Keep your medicine in a place where you will see it every day. Maybe next to your toothbrush or coffee maker?