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PrEP & COVID-19

For many, physical distancing and limiting our contact with others will mean reducing our sexual encounters. If you're not having sex or you've limited to one regular partner, what does this mean for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)?

There has been some speculation that PrEP protects against COVID-19. This is simply NOT true.

PrEP DOES NOT PROTECT YOU AGAINST COVID-19.

However, if you're interested in temporarily stopping or changing how you take PrEP, here are some tips for how you can make those changes while still looking after your sexual health and wellbeing.

PLEASE NOTE: The following info is only suitable for cisgender men. Scroll down for guidelines for trans men, trans women, and cisgender women.

I want to stop PrEP because I’m not having sex.
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If you are no longer having sex and want to stop PrEP, then you can safely do so by taking a PrEP pill 24 hours and then 48 hours after you last have sex. If you haven’t had sex for the last few days then you can stop immediately.

I am still having sex, just not as much, so what should I do?
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If you are not having sex as often as you used to, or if you have agreed to only hook up with one regular sex partner or a person you live with, you will still want to protect yourself.

You can continue to use daily PrEP, but you also may want to think about using On Demand PrEP, which can keep you protected during a single session hook-up and may be more suitable to people who are not hooking up with their 'fuck buddy' often.

How do I start On-Demand PrEP?
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On-Demand PrEP has a more rigorous regimen and involves:

BEFORE SEX:

  • Take 2 PrEP pills (a double dose) between 2-24 hours before sex

AFTER SEX:

  • Take 1 PrEP pill 24 hours after the double dose
  • Take 1 PrEP pill 48 hours after the double dose

NOTE: if you keep having sex during the 48 hours, just be sure to keeping taking a single PrEP pill each day. Once you're done having sex, take one pill each day for two days. As long as you have two sex-free days while you're still taking PrEP - there's enough drug in your system to prevent HIV.

I want to start back on daily PrEP, so what do I need to know?
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If you’re starting daily PrEP again, simply use the same double dose technique for On Demand PrEP, but then keep taking your PrEP daily. Simple.

BEFORE SEX: Take 2 PrEP pills (a double dose) between 2-24 hours before sex

AFTER SEX: Take 1 PrEP pill every day

GET INFORMED ABOUT ON-DEMAND PrEP

Don’t forget!

If you are changing the way you take PrEP, speak with your doctor, and if you don’t have enough time to restart PrEP before sex, then keep condoms handy

Remember, if your partner is HIV-positive and has an undetectable viral load there is no risk of you acquiring HIV.

Guidelines for Trans Men, Trans Women & Cisgender Women

I want to stop PrEP because I’m not having sex.
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If you are no longer having sex and want to stop PrEP, then you can safely do so by taking PrEP pills for 28 days after your last have sex. If you haven’t had sex for over 28 days then you can stop immediately.

I am still having sex, just not as much, so what should I do?
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If you are not having sex as often as you used to, or if you have agreed to only hook up with the one regular sex partner or a person you live with, you will still want to protect yourself.

You should continue to use daily PrEP.

I want to start back on daily PrEP, so what do I need to know?
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If you’re starting daily PrEP again, simply take PrEP every day for 7 days to reach maximum protection.

BEFORE SEX: Take 1 PrEP pill every day for 7 days

AFTER SEX: Take 1 PrEP pill every day for as long as you need PrEP

Why are the guidelines different for cisgender men?
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While community organisations are continuing to advocate for more research into PrEP, currently there isn't enough evidence to support the same guidelines for trans men, trans women, and cisgender women.

Don’t forget!

If you are changing the way you take PrEP, speak with your doctor, and if you don’t have enough time to restart PrEP before sex, then keep condoms handy.

Remember, if your partner is HIV-positive and has an undetectable viral load there is no risk of you acquiring HIV.

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