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Why Safe Sex is Still Important with PrEP

PrEP is short for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis.  It is used by HIV-negative people to reduce the risk of contracting HIV.  This once-daily pill is an FDA-approved prescription medication sold under the name Truvada®.  When taken as prescribed, PrEP is shown to be over 90% effective against HIV transmission.  Although highly effective in reducing the risk of contracting HIV, it’s important to remember that PrEP is not a substitute for safe sex.

PrEP is not Perfect

When taken properly, PrEP is 92-93% effective in lowering HIV risk.  Though this is significant, it’s not one hundred percent, the possibility of infection still exists.  Even when taken correctly, PrEP will not protect you from a mutated strain of HIV shown to be resistant to Truvada® unless other protective measures are used for all sexual activity.

PrEP Does Not Protect You from All STIs

It’s important to remember that using PrEP alone will not protect you against other STIs (sexually transmitted infections).  According to the CDC, the incidence of STDs is continuing to rise, with a significant increase in the number of cases of gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia infections.  Though these STIs can be treated with antibiotics, they do not come without potential complications.  In addition to possible complications from the infection, there are also risks of side effects from the medications used to treat them.  STIs are becoming drug-resistant.  Gonorrhea specifically has developed an antibiotic-resistant strain that has caused some serious concern.  The concern with PrEP is that patients will stop using other safe-sex practices thereby increasing the chances of STI transmission, including that of HIV.

Safe sex is still important when you’re on PrEP.  Used as part of a healthy sex life, PrEP is one of the ways to prevent the spread of HIV.  Another effective way to prevent HIV transmission is using condoms.  The use of condoms also serves to reduce the risk of contracting other STIs.  Continuing to prioritize protection, safety, and honest communication with sexual partners remains key to preventing STIs.

If you’re interested in speaking to one of our open and caring physicians about PrEP, contact River Bend Medical Associates for an appointment today. At River Bend Medical Associates our progressive, sensitive, and culturally diverse team is committed to delivering compassionate health care and promoting the well-being of our patients, employees, and the communities we serve.  When providing services to members of our local community, our goal is for our patients to feel secure in discussing any issue of medical concern with their River Bend practitioner. As part of your medical team, we are here to provide you with the best care in all aspects of your health care needs.  For more information on our medical practice, or to make an appointment contact River Bend Medical Associates, or call 916-392-4000.

For more information about PrEP and HIV prevention, visit the CDC’s HIV prevention page at https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/prep/about-prep.html


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