PrEP: The Drug that Can Prevent HIV

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Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) reduces the risk of HIV from sexual transmission by 99% and from injection drug use by 74%

  • In the US, there are 1.2 million people living with HIV. 1 in 8 are unaware of their HIV status. Half of those known to be infected are receiving effective antiretroviral drugs.
  • There are a number of higher risk groups who are at increased risk of HIV, but anyone can contract the virus. Infection can occur through having sex with or sharing needles with someone positive.
  • If HIV enters the body, it targets CD4 cells, which are a key part of the immune system. HIV duplicates within the cells and if the immune system can’t keep up, the virus becomes permanent.
  • HIV-negative individuals who are in a higher risk category, can choose between a number of preventative options, **one of which is pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
  • PrEP involves taking a prescription pill on a daily basis. It’s for people who are not HIV positive, but are at risk. It can be used by people of all genders and sexual orientations.
  • PrEP prevents HIV from making enough copies of itself within the CD4 blood cells. As the HIV cannot replicate itself, the immune system clears it from the body and the person is not infected.
  • Although the medication is highly effective when taken properly, due to the stigma around HIV and HIV preventative treatment, many don’t seek PrEP.
Articles from 5 publishers

5 articles on this topic

Stat News

This HIV prevention medicine is for everyone. Why do so few people take it?

5 min read

Inside the Fight to Make a Revolutionary HIV Medication Widely Available

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7 min read
National Geographic

An HIV-prevention drug is widely available. Yet at-risk women are getting left behind.

9 min read
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The Truth Behind Preventing HIV with PrEP

3 min read

The first injectable HIV-prevention medication will remove the ordeal of daily pill-popping

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2 min read