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    Sexual Health
    1234 · 20 min read

    Speaking To Your Doctor about PrEP for HIV: What Questions Should I Be Asking?

    Taking proactive measures to protect your sexual health is crucial, especially in the context of HIV prevention. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, also known as PrEP, has emerged as a highly effective tool in the fight against HIV transmission. In this article, we will explore the importance of speaking to a healthcare professional about PrEP, the questions you should be asking during the consultation, the factors that determine your suitability for PrEP, and where you can access this medication.

    Should you discuss PrEP HIV with a healthcare professional before starting treatment?

    Yes, it is highly recommended to discuss PrEP for HIV with a healthcare professional before starting treatment. By having an open and honest conversation you can address any concerns, ask relevant questions, and receive personalised advice tailored to your specific circumstances. Your doctor will assess your individual risk factors, evaluate your medical history, and discuss potential side effects or interactions with other medications.

    What questions should I ask my doctor about PrEP for HIV?

    During a consultation with a doctor, you will be asked a number of different questions. It is important, however, to have your own questions so that you can be fully informed about PrEP, HIV and other factors around the condition and the treatment. When discussing PrEP for HIV with your doctor, here are some important questions to consider asking:

    • Is PrEP suitable for me? What are the eligibility criteria?

    • How does PrEP work to prevent HIV transmission?

    • What are the potential side effects of PrEP?

    • How often do I need to take PrEP? Are there any specific instructions to follow?

    • Are there any medications or conditions that could interact with PrEP?

    • How effective is PrEP in preventing HIV transmission?

    • How long should I take PrEP? Are there any specific circumstances that may require adjustments to the treatment duration?

    • Will PrEP protect me against other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?

    • Do I need to take any additional precautions while on PrEP, such as using condoms?

    These questions, whilst some may be answered in your consultation, provide a lot of information you may need to know if you are planning on starting PrEP treatment.

    Why is it important to be open with your doctor?

    Being open with your doctor is of paramount importance for several reasons. First and foremost, your doctor is a trusted healthcare professional who is there to provide you with the best possible care. By sharing your complete medical history, including any pre-existing conditions, medications you are currently taking, and any concerns or symptoms you may be experiencing, you enable your doctor to have a comprehensive understanding of your health. This information is vital in determining your suitability for specific treatments, such as PrEP for HIV. Discussing sensitive topics related to your sexual health with your doctor creates an environment of trust and confidentiality, enabling them to offer personalised advice and guidance tailored to your needs.

    Am I suitable for PrEP HIV treatment?

    Determining your suitability for PrEP for HIV treatment is a decision that should be made in consultation with a healthcare professional. Typically, PrEP is recommended for individuals who are at high risk of acquiring HIV, such as those who engage in condomless sex with partners of unknown HIV status, have multiple sexual partners, or have a partner who is HIV-positive. It is also recommended for individuals who inject drugs and may share needles or other injection equipment.

    Am I at high risk of HIV transmission?

    Several groups are considered to be at higher risk of HIV infection. Firstly, men who have sex with men face a higher risk due to the increased likelihood of exposure to the virus through unprotected anal sex, which carries a higher transmission risk than other sexual activities. Individuals who engage in condomless sex with partners of unknown HIV status or with multiple sexual partners are also at an increased risk. People who inject drugs and share needles or other injection equipment also face a heightened risk of HIV transmission. 

    How can HIV be transmitted?

    HIV can be transmitted through specific body fluids that contain the virus. The primary modes of HIV transmission include:

    • Unprotected sexual contact

    • Sharing needles or syringes

    • Passing from mother to child during childbirth

    • Blood transfusions or organ transplants

    It is important to note that HIV cannot be transmitted through casual contact, such as hugging, shaking hands, or sharing utensils, or through respiratory droplets like those of common colds or flu.

    How will PrEP prevent HIV transmission?

    Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, also known as PrEP, is a preventive approach that involves taking medication to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV. PrEP is highly effective at preventing HIV transmission when taken as prescribed. The medication inside of PrEP works by inhibiting the replication of HIV in the body.

    What are the benefits of PrEP HIV?

    PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) for HIV offers several significant benefits in HIV prevention and sexual health. Here are some key benefits of PrEP:

    • It is highly effective

    • It empowers people to be in control of their own health

    • It gives people flexibility with their decisions

    • It helps to reduce the stigma and fear of HIV

    Can using condoms along with PrEP help to reduce HIV transmission?

    Yes, using condoms in addition to PrEP can further reduce the risk of HIV transmission. While PrEP itself provides a high level of protection against HIV when taken consistently and as prescribed, using condoms during sexual activity adds an extra layer of protection. Condoms act as a physical barrier, preventing direct contact between bodily fluids that may carry the virus, while PrEP works by inhibiting the replication of HIV in case of any potential exposure

    How often does PrEP HIV need to be taken?

    The recommended dosing schedule for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV may vary depending on the specific medication prescribed by your healthcare provider. For emtricitabine/tenofovir, the typical dosing regimen is to take one pill (200 mg of emtricitabine and 300 mg of tenofovir) daily. It is important to take the pill around the same time each day for optimal effectiveness.

    How much will PrEP HIV cost?

    At UK Meds, you can purchase generic Truvada PrEP (emtricitabine/tenofovir) online for as little as £4.40 per tablet. You can also subscribe to get your medication delivered to you as and when you need it from as little as £1.06 per tablet. 

    Can you get PrEP HIV on the NHS?

    Yes, you can obtain PrEP for HIV through the NHS. Since 2017, PrEP has been available through the NHS in England as part of a comprehensive HIV prevention strategy. It is, however, quicker and easier to get the treatments that you need by using an online service such as UK Meds.

    What side effects will I experience when I take PrEP HIV?

    As with all other prescription-only medications, users may experience some side effects when they use PrEP for HIV prevention. The most common side effects of PrEP include:

    • Headaches

    • Fatigue

    • Changes to kidney function

    • A slight decrease in bone density

    It is worth noting that serious side effects associated with PrEP are rare, however, if you experience any prolonged or serious side effects you may wish to contact a healthcare provider. 

    Are there any long-term risks to using PrEP HIV?

    When used appropriately and under medical supervision, PrEP for HIV prevention is considered safe and effective. However, like any medication, there are certain considerations regarding potential long-term risks associated with PrEP use. The main long-term consideration of PrEP is that it is not an effective preventative measure for other sexually transmitted infections. It is important that you take the appropriate measures to protect yourself if you are engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse.

    Do you need a prescription for PrEP HIV treatment?

    Yes, in order to purchase PrEP treatment, such as generic Truvada (emtricitabine/tenofovir) in the United Kingdom you need to have a valid prescription. To obtain a prescription for PrEP, you can consult with a healthcare professional who is knowledgeable about HIV prevention and treatment. You can also purchase PrEP online from UK Meds by completing our free online consultation that ensures the medication is right for you.

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