On-demand HIV PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is one of the most important developments in the prevention of an HIV infection. And while the way it works is fairly simple to understand, there are still questions that people need to have answered about this preventative method.
Studies do show that increasing awareness is very important so that at-risk individuals can make the most of HIV PrEP.
If you need some information about it and you’re not exactly confident how on-demand HIV PrEP is to be taken, the following guide will shed some light on the biggest essentials.
The Importance of HIV PrEP Awareness
Recent studies show that educating people about HIV PrEP and increasing their awareness level boosts their desire to give it a try. Of the people who took on HIV PrEP, the infection rates and the need to take HIV PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) were low.
Another study conducted in France, however, suggests that many questions about the nature of on-demand HIV PrEP are to be answered. According to the French researchers, there’s often a confusion about the schedule that should be followed when taking on-demand PrEP.
The conclusion of the study is pretty simple. People should be provided with a unified message about when to start and stop PrEP in order to enjoy optimal benefits from this preventative methodology.
On-Demand HIV PrEP Essentials
In many countries, the medication administered as HIV PrEP is Truvada (a combination of daily tenofir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine. There are other parts of the world, however, where Truvada is not covered under the national healthcare system. The UK is one example of such a country and as a result, people living in these parts of the world often turn to generic versions of the medications to reduce their risk of HIV infection.
But why is this medication known as on-demand PrEP?
These medications are often called event-based. On-demand PrEP is recommended for high risk individuals like men who have sex with men and sex workers. For optimal efficiency, On-demand HIV PrEP should be taken according to a schedule – two tablets 2 to 24 hours before having intercourse, one tablet 24 hours after the first two and one more pill 24 hours later. This is known as the 2-1-1 scheme.
On-demand PrEP has already gotten World Health Organization (WHO) endorsement. Various other reputable entities like the European AIDS Clinical Society and the International AIDS Society-USA have also endorsed the medication.
The Effectiveness of On-Demand PrEP
On-demand PrEP is an excellent choice for the individuals who can plan their sexual activity and undertake the respective precautionary measures.
In most countries where on-demand PrEP is available, there’s a simple procedure to follow in order to get access to the medications. A medical consultation and STD testing will both be required before a PrEP supply is provided. In Singapore, the procedure is pretty much the same as in other parts of the world.
But what do we know about the effectiveness of on-demand PrEP so far?
A new US study was presented in June 2020 to reveal the results of taking on-demand PrEP for HIV prevention. The information was presented in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal.
Researchers worked with 279 male volunteers who were put on the 2-1-1 HIV PrEP scheme. During the study period (three months), none of the participants in the study became HIV-positive. What’s interesting to note is that some of the study participants reported missing an occasional dose of their medications.
Recent studies from European countries have revealed similar findings.
Obviously, these studies have some limitations. The samples are pretty small and it will be very important to follow volunteers for a much longer period of time in order to have highly reliable results. Current studies, however, are quite positive and they show us just how great of an innovation on-demand HIV PrEP is.
Getting Started with On-Demand PrEP
Getting started with on-demand HIV PrEP is fairly simple. For the purpose, however, you should first assess your sexual behaviour and your risk of contracting a serious STD like HIV.
If you don’t know if you’re a good candidate for on-demand PrEP, visiting a reputable Singaporean medical facility like Shim Clinic could be a good idea. At Shim Clinic, you’ll get a thorough consultation about HIV prevention and whether on-demand PrEP is a good choice for you.
The most important thing to remember is that the so-called loading dose of on-demand HIV PrEP should be taken 24 hours before planned intercourse.
If you plan to have sex more than one time over the course of a week, you only need to take one additional tablet as a loading dose 24 hours before intercourse.
Whenever the next type of sexual activity occurs more than seven days after taking the right pill as a part of the 2-1-1 scheme, you will need to repeat it in its entirety (namely: having two pills 24 hours before sex, one pill 24 hours later and one pill 24 hours after that).
All of this may seem somewhat confusing at first but once you get established in the routine, taking your on-demand HIV PrEP without missing a dose will become a fairly simple task.
Depending on your needs, you can also stop taking the medication or make the switch from on-demand PrEP to daily PrEP. Taking PrEP on a daily basis is recommended whenever you consistently engage in high-risk behaviour. Keep in mind that in such instances, you will have to go through a lead-in period of seven days.
If you have questions about HIV PrEP and other methods of prevention, please contact Shim Clinic today. Alternatively, you can come to our clinic every day of the week (check out our working hours in the website footer).