What is PrEP?
“PrEP” stands for “pre-exposure prophylaxis”, that is, taking anti-retroviral drugs preventively to avoid HIV infection.The authorised drugs for PrEP approved in Spain since 2016 are Truvada and Descovy (both contain the same drugs Emtricitabine+Tenofovir).
What types of PrEP are there?
There are two types of PrEP guidelines:
- Daily, where one pill is taken each day.
- On demand 2-1-1, where a double dose (two tablets) is taken between 2 and 24 hours before the planned sexual relationship and, after having had sexual intercourse, another tablet is taken 24 and 48 hours after the initial double dose. In the event that sexual relations are maintained several days in a row, one tablet should be taken daily until 48 hours have elapsed since the last sexual relation.
How effective is PrEP?
Different studies confirm that the 2 regimens are equally effective, the daily regimen being the most problematic due to adherence to treatment (performing the regimen correctly, without forgetting a dose).
In the latest studies conducted in Europe, the efficacy of PrEP is approximately 86%, being directly related to adherence to treatment; since if the dosing is done correctly, the effectiveness is 99%. In Spain it can only be dispensed in hospital pharmacy services or in healthcare centres authorised by the Autonomous Communities (CCAA).
When should I take PrEP?
PrEP is indicated for people without HIV who are at high risk of being exposed to (and getting) HIV through unsafe sex and/or injected drug use. In Spain, hospital specialists are the ones who, under specific eligibility criteria, individually assess whether PrEP is indicated or not.
Apart from the intrinsic importance of PrEP to deal with HIV, it should also be accompanied by other preventive interventions such as effective sexual education, promotion of condom use and the advice of the physician to promote risk reduction.
What tests should I take if I am taking PrEP?
People taking PrEP should have HIV screening tests every 6 months to make sure the medication is working. It should also be taken into account that PrEP users tend to engage in more unprotected sex, so it is necessary to perform tests for other relevant STIs depending on the type of unprotected sex performed.
In addition, to make sure that this medication does not affect our kidneys, every 6 months we must perform kidney function tests. If PrEP is taken for more than 5 years, it is also advisable to perform bone density tests, since there are studies that suggest that it can reduce bone density.
How can Open House help me?
At Open House, we have the best possible medical team to guide and advise you on taking PrEP and on the risks of STIs in your unprotected sexual practices. You can find more relevant information in our frequently asked questions (FAQ) section.
In addition, you can carry out the recommended STD tests with results in just two hours in our physical clinics in Madrid and Valencia, or you can use our online testing service to carry out your remote medical consultations or STI tests from the comfort of your home or office . Put your sexual health in the best hands!
Dr. Julieta Domingorena Córdoba
Madrid Clinic Valencia Clinic Test Online