What You Need To Know About HIV in 2021
June 25th, 2021
Whether you are heterosexual or gay, male or female, HIV does not look like what it did 20 years ago! There are several ways to treat an HIV infection or even prevent contracting HIV. There are highly effective medications for those who are HIV+ that reduce the viral load in the body to a level that is undetectable in a blood test. UNDETECTABLE = UNTRANSMISSABLE
Should I Get Tested?
YES! And getting tested once may not be enough. National guidelines from the CDC and other groups recommend retesting at least once a year for anyone at higher risk for getting HIV, including:
- Men who have sex with men
- People with more than 1 sexual partner
- Transgender people who have sex with men
- People who have recently had a sexually transmitted infection
- People who use injection drugs
The CDC also suggests regular retesting for sexually active gay and bisexual men, every 3 to 6 months. When compared to those first used to treat HIV, today’s treatments are more effective and easier to take, are often between one and three pills per day, and have fewer and less severe side effects.
We all know the obvious methods for practicing safe sex, but there are also medical options available for minimizing contraction and transmission. These treatments are commonly known as PrEP and PEP.
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis)
PrEP is prescribed to HIV-negative adults and adolescents who are at high risk for getting HIV through sex or injection drug use.
- PrEP is a once daily medication taken to prevent transmission of HIV.
- When used consistently, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection by up to 99%.
- PrEP does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (i.e., Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Syphilis etc.).
- There are currently 2 branded PrEP medications with generic counterparts, which makes them available and affordable.
PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis)
If you are not taking one of the PrEP medications and have a potential exposure to HIV you have another medical option. PEP is a short course of HIV medicines taken very soon after a possible exposure to HIV to prevent the virus from taking hold in your body.
- PEP is a combination of three drugs taken once or twice a day for 28 days.
- You must start it within 72 hours (3 days) after a possible exposure to HIV, or it won’t work. Every hour counts!
- PEP should be used only in emergency situations. It is not meant for regular use by people who may be exposed to HIV frequently.
- PEP may be right for you if you are HIV-negative or don’t know your HIV status, and you think you may have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours.
CURE Urgent Care offers private HIV testing and treatment, including new prescriptions and refills for PrEP and PEP. Our offices are comfortable and modern and test results are provided via our HIPAA-compliant patient portal within 3 days. Schedule online or walk-in to one of our convenient locations today!