Video provided with permission and courtesy of Centers for Disease and Prevention (USA)
PrEP is great, but not a cure-all pill that comes with risks and does not offer 100% protection. Use it only after proper diagnosis and consultation from your sexual health doctor. NEVER use PrEP without diagnosis and consultation, it could be detrimental to your health when used incorrectly and if you are unaware of your HIV status.
* Effective prevention up to 92% if HIV PrEP medication is detectable in the bloodstream (http://afa.org.sg/portfolio-item/prep-answered/)
What is PreP?
PrEP refers to Pre-exposure prophylaxis. It is a medication taken before HIV exposure to prevent infection through taking sufficient medication over time to reduce HIV from infecting the cells in your body.
Is it 100% safe?
Even with condoms, there is no 100% statistical guarantee from HIV infection due to various factors. PrEP has been shown to provide over 90% protection from HIV virus when taken correctly and consistently. It does not protect you from any other forms of sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis.
So I can have sex without condoms on PrEP?
PrEP is a personal choice, and an option one can use to reduce your risks from HIV infections. When used with a condom, it further increases your protection. There has been 5 cases of HIV infections worldwide (at time of writing) even with PrEP usage and there could be various factors that contribute to such outcomes, including lack of adherence.
Come on - PrEP is a party drug...
Using PrEP is a means of protecting oneself - just like a condom. We don't think a condom is a party medical device, and neither should PrEP be. PrEP is used by couples who wish to conceive when one of the partner is HIV positive , and also used to protect healthcare workers to protect them from HIV infections whilst working with patients. PrEP is a medication to protect oneself and also a way to be responsible to those around you., whatever the reasons for using them.
How do I take PrEP for it to be effective?
Different countries have different medical guidelines on PrEP use. The safest way is to take one pill everyday and studies have shown taking PrEP at least 48 hours prior , during, and 48 hours post exposure has shown protection. PrEP needs to be taken before exposure and not after. We don't recommend risking it on the day of exposure at it may not have sufficient time to build up efficacy in your body.
What are the side effects of PrEP?
In rare instances, it could cause liver or kidney function complications. Also, if you have Hepatitis B , it acts as a substitute in keeping it under control. Stopping PrEP could cause problems if you are unaware that you have contracted Hep B and the condition worsens.
PrEP's biggest side-effect is it can cause a super-strain HIV to develop if you take it whilst being HIV positive, and prevent HIV medications from being effective during treatment for you and put others at risk if this strain of virus is spread. This is why you must always check to be absolutely sure you are HIV negative before taking PrEP, it cannot be used after HIV exposure.
I just had HIV exposure due to unprotected sex, or I think I may have a risk - can I quickly take some PrEP?
No. Taking PrEP without sufficient time prior to exposure leads to a possible counter productive effect of having a viral resistance to medication. Post infections or exposure, you must use PEP (Post-exposure prophylaxis) within 72 hours for 30 days and not PrEP medication. If you have been exposed, contact us for recommended clinics for PEP consultation.
What are my options for PrEP? Is it covered by insurance?
With exception of those who have been HIV infected, there is no insurance coverage or Medisave subsidy for PrEP. Today, most Singapore clinics and hospitals provide original PrEP from Gilead Sciences, a patented medication which can be quite difficult from most Singaporeans to afford. PrEP Singapore provides doctor and clinic referrals for Singaporeans to provide alternative PrEP (i.e. Teno EM, produced by the Thailand Government Pharmaceutical Organisation) thru licensed doctors and directly from Thai GPO to assure you have legitimate medication and at prices that is similar to purchasing in Thailand itself with the convenience of sending it to your home in Singapore.
Why do you need prescriptions and blood tests? I can easily buy from online pharmacies or thru pharmacies in Thailand on my own.
Your health is at stake. We want our clients to make sure they are diagnosed to be eligible for PrEP which is a prescription medication only. You need to be sure you are HIV negative and to use PrEP properly thru a qualified doctor consultation down to the medicine you receive. There is no assurance of whatever you buy is legitimate or real, and its your own life at stake. What's more, the prices are similar - so why put your health at risk for small savings or minor inconveniences ?
Why are you limiting me to only 3 months of orders?
PrEP effectiveness is only as good as your adherence, and your lifestyle. It is possible due to poor adherence, or not taking it in the right manner, you could have been infected or complications from other diseases could have occurred. You should do a blood test every 3 months to ensure you are on the right track.
What's more, Health Science Authorities Singapore limits personal prescription medication to no more than 3 months thru mail. If you like to save on shipping, we could arrange for you or your friend to pick up in Bangkok as well.
I want to start PrEP, what do I do?
Before using PrEP, always be sure you are certain of your HIV status including the window periods for infections. Visit your sexual health doctor (or our recommended clinics) to get consultation and blood tests (Hep B, Liver/Kidney function, HIV) and then send us the prescription/blood test results and your order. If you can, we recommend other STD tests as well - PrEP is great, but not a wonder pill.
Disclaimer: The above are opinions and not intended as medical advice. You should always seek qualified doctors and practitioners for medical advice.