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Published on May 19, 2015
Dr. David explains the daily pill that can help protect against HIV.
#AskTheHIVDoc is a video series from Greater Than AIDS where top HIV doctors give frank, no-nonsense responses to commonly asked questions from gay men about a range of sexual health topics, including personal risk, PrEP and other prevention tools, testing, and treatment. For more information, visit: http://greaterthan.org/speakout.
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TRANSCRIPT: Dr. David: So, I’ve been hearing about a pill that can prevent HIV. Does it really work and how do I get it? I’m a doctor. Dr. Demetre: I’m Dr. Demetre. Dr. David: And I’m Dr. David. Dr. Demetre: We’re HIV doctors. Dr. David: And we’re here to answer your questions on HIV and sexual health. The pill that prevents HIV is kind of a newer addition to our HIV prevention methods, and it’s called Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP. It’s a pill that contains two medications that are commonly used to treat HIV. You take the medication before you get HIV to protect yourself in case you do get exposed. It’s been found to be very effective, um, and in the studies that we’ve seen with gay men, when taken every day it can be effective in reducing risk of HIV by anywhere from 90% to close to 100%. But the important component is taking the pill every day, because if you only take it about 3 or 4 days out of the week you’re not going to achieve the same level of protection. But PrEP was not intended to be something that you have to take for the rest of your life. Sexuality is fluid. Sexual risk behavior is fluid. So, when you feel like you’re putting yourself at risk for HIV or if you feel that some of your behaviors, you’re not using condoms as much, PrEP may be useful in that scenario. But it’s not necessarily the case for everybody that once you start PrEP that you have to be on it for the rest of your life. So it’s a case by case scenario.