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Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancy Fact Sheet

Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancy Fact Sheet

October 16, 2017

Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a medication which, when taken daily, can protect those who are not HIV positive avoid HIV infection. It is a critical prevention method for those who are at substantial risk for HIV infection.

The PrEP pill (brand name Truvada®) contains two medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine), both of which are actually used in combination with other medicines to treat HIV. Used as a method of prevention in the form of PrEp, when someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection in the non-HIV positive person. When taken consistently, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk by up to 92%. PrEP is much less effective if it is not taken consistently.

As of September 2015, WHO recommends that people at substantial risk of HIV infection should be offered PrEP as an additional choice in a comprehensive package of prevention services that also includes HIV testing, counseling, male and female condoms, voluntary medical male circumcision and others. PrEP can be combined with condoms and these other prevention methods to provide even greater protection than when used alone. People who use PrEP must commit to taking the drug every day and visiting their health care provider for follow-up every 3 months.