How & When to Start Taking PrEP

Key Takeaways

PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) is an incredibly effective tool in reducing the risk of HIV, but to ensure its effectiveness, it's essential to know how to take it.

Whether you're starting PrEP or wondering about the process of stopping it, we've got the answers for you. On this page, we'll delve into the specifics of PrEP medication, its dosing schedules, safety measures, and what happens when you decide to stop taking it.

We aim to provide you with clear, concise, and transparent information that will guide you towards better understanding and managing your health.

Remember: While we strive to provide reliable information, it's always best to consult a healthcare practitioner like those at Felix, for professional medical advice. Let's dive into the world of PrEP.

Daily PrEP Usage 

Daily PrEP usage, as the name suggests, involves taking a PrEP pill every day.

This method is 99% effective at reducing the risk of HIV. It’s available for anyone who’d like to protect themselves against HIV, regardless of gender, if they’re at risk of contracting the virus.

How it works

How to take PrEP medication involves the individual taking one pill each day, ideally at the same time. Daily PrEP usage provides a constant supply of the medication in your bloodstream, offering continuous protection against HIV.

Remember to take the pill consistently, as missing doses can decrease its effectiveness.

Event Based Dosing (EBD)

Event-Based Dosing (EBD), also known as "on-demand" PrEP or "intermittent" PrEP, is a different approach to PrEP treatments. Instead of taking a pill daily, the individual takes PrEP pills in line with their sexual activities.

How EBD works

You take two PrEP pills between 2-24 hours before anticipated sexual activity, then one pill 24 hours after the first dose, and another 48 hours after the first dose. If sexual activity lasts for several days, you'll continue to take a pill every 24 hours, until 48 hours after your last sexual activity. 

EBD can be a suitable option for people who can plan for sexual activity, don't have sex frequently, or don't want to take a daily pill. However, EBD is only recommended for certain patients; so if this method of PrEP interests you, talk to your practitioner at Felix.

Both daily PrEP and EBD offer a way to take PrEP that fits with individual lifestyles and sexual behaviours. As always, it's important to consult a healthcare practitioner to determine the best PrEP regimen for you.

Can I switch between dosing options or schedules?

Yes, you can switch between dosing options or schedules, but it's essential to do this under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner.

They can give you guidance, based on your health status, risk factors, and lifestyle considerations, so you’re maintaining the safety and efficacy of your medication. 

If you switch from daily PrEP to EBD (or vice versa), your healthcare practitioner will explain how to do this safely, ensuring that you are adequately protected at all times.

What if I need to stop taking PrEP?

If you decide to stop taking PrEP, it's essential to consult with your healthcare practitioner first. They can guide how to discontinue the medication safely.

Further Reading: Can I Stop Taking PrEP At Any Time?

If I stopped taking PrEP, how do I start taking it again?

Restarting PrEP involves the same steps as when you first started. It's crucial to consult a healthcare practitioner before you start retaking PrEP.

They'll likely perform the HIV and kidney tests again to reconfirm your HIV-negative status and kidney health before you restart PrEP.

Remember that PrEP doesn't offer immediate protection. Restarting it means you have to follow the same steps as you did the first time you took it, in order for it to be fully effective.

How long does PrEP stay in your system?

Have you ever wondered how long PrEP is effective after stopping? The duration of PrEP's presence in your system is influenced by a number of factors, like the specific medication being used, your unique metabolism, and the type of exposure.

Upon discontinuation of PrEP, medication levels in the blood gradually diminish. Generally, protection against HIV can be sustained for up to 48 hours after the last dose for receptive anal intercourse, and up to 28 days for all other activities.

However, it’s a little different for each person, and there’s no single answer that’s accurate for everyone.

When to See a Healthcare Practitioner

You should consult a healthcare practitioner if you’re interested in starting PrEP treatments to protect yourself against HIV.

Felix is making this process quick and seamless for Canadians, by providing convenient online assessments and on-demand access to healthcare practitioners.

Remember, regular check-ups with a healthcare practitioner are a crucial part of maintaining your sexual health, even when you're taking PrEP. Our experts can provide ongoing support, advice, and monitoring to help ensure you're always adequately protected.

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