PrEP is now one of several proven ways to prevent HIV, and it is an exciting addition to the prevention toolbox to help us get to our goal of ending new HIV transmissions. The other ways people can choose to prevent HIV are by using:
Condoms provide an effective strategy to prevent HIV as they stop the passing of fluids from one partner to the other. Condoms can also reduce the risk of other STIs, but don’t eliminate this risk. Condoms are best used with water-based or silicon-based lubricants (oil-based lubricants will eat away at condoms).
Undetectable viral load
If a person living with HIV has an undetectable viral load, this means their treatments have reduced the amount of virus in their blood down to such low levels, it is unable to be measured by the tests. If a person living with HIV is on effective treatment and has an undetectable viral load, they cannot pass on HIV. You may have heard of this as U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable), and it is another very exciting addition to the HIV prevention toolbox.
Many people also use combinations of these prevention tools, depending on their partner or situation at the time.
It can be good to talk to your partners about the prevention tools each of you want to use.
And it’s really important that we respect each other’s choices.
Don’t forget, if you think you might have been exposed to HIV, PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) is also available. PEP is a month-long course of drugs to help prevent HIV that is taken after a possible exposure to HIV. For more information about PEP, check out: www.getpep.info.