It’s important to be tested frequently for HIV and STDs while on PrEP. Testing every three months is recommended, yet some providers may extend the testing period depending on their clinical practice guidelines.
PrEP is most effective when you take it once daily. For full protection, PrEP must be taken every day. Missing a dose may increase your chances of getting HIV.
PrEP isn’t a morning-after pill. PrEP must be taken before possible exposure to HIV. If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV within the last 72 hours, visit your doctor or an urgent care center for post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP.
PrEP will not protect you from STDs. If you’re concerned about getting STDs, such as syphilis, chlamydia, or gonorrhea, ask your partners about when they were last tested. Also be sure to get yourself tested for STDs regularly, especially if you’re not using condoms. Condoms and plenty of lube can help protect you from STDs, but these infections can also be passed through oral sex or other sexual contact.
PrEP causes minimal side effects. Short-term side effects include nausea, headaches, fatigue, and weight loss. If you experience these or any other conditions while taking PrEP, tell your doctor.
If you’re on PrEP and you think you may have an STD, tell your doctor right away. Don’t wait until your next visit!
If you are interested in PrEP but don’t know where to go or are worried about the cost, the PrEPDAP program may be able to help.