PrEP is a daily medication that can help protect people at high risk of HIV from contracting the virus. PrEP is extremely effective for everyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
Women in India have not benefited from PrEP on a large scale. Only a minute percentage of women have been using PrEP or have a prescription for PrEP.
This is mainly due to stigma, lack of knowledge, or access to PrEP. It is important to spread awareness amongst women about PrEP and to educate them about the need and importance of PrEP. After adequate consultation with their medical practitioner, women can consider whether PrEP is right for them.
What is PrEP?
PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, involves taking daily or regular medication to prevent HIV infection. PrEP is suitable for people who are at risk of contracting HIV. PrEP helps to stop the virus from establishing itself and spreading in the body. PrEP is highly effective when taken properly and consistently as directed by your medical practitioner.
PrEP For Women
Women represent a whopping 45% of HIV cases in India (Source: National AIDS Control Organisation, NACO). Women mostly contract HIV through unprotected sex with infected partners. Using a previously used syringe by an infected person is also another reason for contracting HIV.
A medical practitioner can help you decide if PrEP is right for you. PrEP would be generally suitable for you if:
- You have a partner who’s diagnosed with HIV
- You have contracted an STI in the recent past
- Your partner has risky encounters with other sexual partners
- Your partner frequently uses injectable drugs
- You have used post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) more than once
If you are planning a child, pregnant, or even breastfeeding, PrEP can protect you and your baby from getting infected by HIV.
How Do You Get PrEP?
In order to obtain PrEP, you will need a prescription from a doctor. While PrEP is not free through the public healthcare system, it is easily accessible through organizations such as The Humsafar Trust or DrSafeHands.
In India, private doctors also prescribe PrEP. The aforementioned organizations offer PrEP at greatly reduced prices. Regular check-ups with your medical practitioner are essential while taking PrEP. PrEP is highly effective when taken properly and consistently as directed by your medical practitioner.
Side-Effects Of PrEP
PrEP is generally safe to take but like all medication, it can cause some unexpected side effects. The side effects of PrEP are usually mild. You should consult your medical practitioner if the effects continue for a long or get worse.
Common side effects include stomach pain or nausea, headache or tiredness, throwing up, loss of appetite, or diarrhea.
Thanks to advancements in medicine, it is now possible to take proactive measures to protect oneself from HIV and effectively manage the virus. Today, there is ample support from numerous organizations for women to shed social pressures, fight against stigma and prioritize their health and well-being.
DrSafeHands provides confidential testing, counseling, and treatment for a number of sexual ailments and mental health issues across the country. For more information, visit: www.dr.safehands.com
Disclaimer: This website may contain general information relating to various medical conditions and their treatment. Such information is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by a doctor or other qualified healthcare professionals. Readers should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing a health or fitness problem or disease. Readers should always consult with a doctor or other healthcare professional for medical advice or information about diagnosis and treatment.