When taken correctly, PrEP is a great method for HIV prevention. Check out these frequently asked questions on oral PrEP:
“How long does it take for PrEP to work?”
It takes up to 7 days for you to be fully protected because the oral PrEP needs to build up in your body. To keep protected, you have to keep taking your PrEP pills every day for as long as you want and need the best level of protection.
“Do I have to take PrEP for the rest of my life?”
You only use PrEP for as long as you feel that you are at risk of getting HIV infection. If you are in a long-term relationship where one partner is HIV positive, the HIV-negative partner may need to take PrEP for life if the partner is not virally suppressed.
“What happens if I miss a PrEP pill?”
If you miss one PrEP pill, take it as soon as you remember and try to keep up taking it daily as before. If you regularly forget to take your PrEP pills, make sure to use a condom when having sex and go back to the clinic for help to get you back on track.
If you have been having unprotected sex and not taking your PrEP correctly then you will get a repeat HIV test done when you go to the clinic. The healthcare provider will also help you to choose the best option to protect you from an HIV infection.
“Can I get HIV from taking PrEP?”
No, you can’t. Your body doesn’t have the virus in it if you start PrEP because the clinic will test you for HIV before you start. You only start PrEP if you are HIV-negative. Remember PrEP will only protect you from HIV if you take it regularly.
“Can I take PrEP if I am HIV-positive?”
No, you can’t. This is because you can’t use PrEP as HIV treatment. HIV-positive people need a different combination of ARV for treatment, prescribed by their healthcare provider.
“I’ve run out of PrEP. Can I use ARV treatment pills?”
No, you can’t. Using other people’s ARV pills can lead to side effects, allergic reactions or make both the ARVs and PrEP less effective.
“If I take PrEP, can I stop using condoms when I have sex?”
“My partner is using PrEP. Does this mean they don’t trust me?”
It’s not about trust! Sometimes unexpected things happen that could put one of you at risk – a wild night, a stupid mistake and people get raped and can contract HIV. You can never be too careful.
“My partner is using PrEP. Does this mean that I am protected too?”
No. PrEP only prevents HIV transmission for the person who is taking it. If you want to prevent HIV, you can take it too.
“Can I use PrEP and family planning together?”
Yes, PrEP can be taken with any kind of family planning (contraception).
Watch this video by Pumza as she explains why PrEP must be used together with condoms!
Click here to find your nearest clinic offering PrEP.
Learn more about PrEP and how it works in this article.