What does it mean when people say PrEP is 99 percent effective?
Recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies show that PrEP reduces the risk of contracting HIV from sex by 99 percent when used consistently. Proper adherence is critical for maximizing the effectiveness of PrEP. In addition to undergoing regular HIV testing, individuals must take the drug every day for it to be most effective. PrEP is a critical tool for HIV prevention and an essential part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to end the AIDS epidemic in New York state by 2020. At GMHC, we know how critical PrEP use is to ending the epidemic, which still produces 50,000 new HIV infections in the U.S. each year.
Can I still contract HIV even if I use PrEP?
No single prevention tool provides 100 percent protection against a sexually active individual contracting HIV or any sexually transmitted infection. At GMHC, we promote the use of all available tools in the prevention toolbox. PrEP, used in combination with condoms, provides even greater protection against contracting HIV. The consistent use of condoms during sex also protects against many other STIs and can help prevent unplanned pregnancy.
Can you take PrEP while on other medications?
As is the case with any prescription medication, individuals should always consult their health care provider before taking PrEP. Your health care provider will help determine if PrEP is right for you, if PrEP might affect the way your other medicines work, and if your other medications might affect the way PrEP works. [Editor's note: Experts say that while studies are scant, PrEP use among transgender people does not interfere with estrogen or progestin therapy, nor does it affect the levels of hormones in one's body.]
KELSEY LOUIE is CEO of Gay Men's Health Crisis, a New York-based nonprofit and the world's first organization for HIV/AIDS services.