Good Morning sis! I hope all is going well for you, and you are creating a life that you love. So today I wanted to talk briefly about an article that I read online regarding HIV and PrEP. I was scrolling through my social media feed a couple months back and I came across this article about a man in Australia. The article was titled “An Australian Man Has Been Diagnosed With HIV While On PrEP” (you can read the full article there). Just reading the title of this article is very scary, but I wanted to take a moment to clear up some of the clickbait, and tell you what’s really going down.
So what happened?
First and foremost, the article is about a man in Australia who contracted HIV while taking the preventative medication PrEP. He has been on PrEP for about five years up until this point and personally when I first read this I was astounded. PrEP has been proven to be 99% effective at preventing HIV, so in my mind I thought “maybe he is just that one percent that it’s not effective for”. Upon further inspection though i found out that this was totally wrong.
If PrEP is so effective, then how did he contract HIV?
I’m glad you asked. While reading the article I came across a term that I wasn’t familiar with. That term was “On Demand”. He had been taking PrEP on demand with the approval of his doctors. I was confused by the because if the doctors said it was okay then it should have worked for him, right? Come to find out that “on demand” PrEP use is not approved by the FDA, and his doctor had given him the wrong information leading him to believe he was protected when he was not, in fact, protected.
What is “On Demand” use?
On demand use is when you would take PrEP before and after sexual encounters. From my previous article on PrEP, we know that the drug should actually be taken daily to remain effective. If you are using PrEP on demand to save some money, or because you can’t remember daily medicine, then I advise you to stop doing so immediately, and follow one of these much safer methods:
- Use Protection – This is one of the safest ways to go about protecting yourself from infection. Use caution with new partners and always protect yourself using condoms or other barrier type methods available in your area.
- Take PrEP Daily – PrEP is only approved for Daily use by the FDA. Taking it daily helps it build up in your system and that is part of the reason why it has been so effective.
- Use PEP in emergencies – if you feel as though you have been exposed to the virus, use PEP (NOT PrEP), within 72 hours and see your doctor immediately.
I hope that this information and these tips can stop future infections coming from incorrect use of PrEP, and also restore the faith in PrEP that this clickbait headlines may have squandered. You can read the full article at the Link above, and You can also get more information on HIV/AIDS from the U.S. National Library of Medicine here at their MedlinePlus website.
Live your best life sis, and do everything you can to stay safe while doing it!