What is Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)?

PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, and is one option to prevent HIV for those of us who are HIV-negative. We can take HIV medications on a daily basis before, and continuing after, activities where there is a possibility of getting HIV. Currently, PrEP is available as a single pill. The first approved pill in Canada is called Truvada. Now, generic forms of this pill are available. 

‘Pre-Exposure’ indicates that the medication must be taken before, during, and after potential exposure to HIV. ‘Prophylaxis’ is a word to describe medications that can prevent infection. PrEP works by making it harder for HIV to establish itself once the virus is in our bodies.

PrEP is made up of two medications, tenofovir and emtricitabine, that are also used to treat HIV for those of us living with HIV. Both of these medications are combined in a single pill. In BC, PrEP is available at no cost for those of us with MSP or Interim Federal Health Program.