PrEP and PEP are medications taken to help prevent transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
WHAT IS PREP?
PrEP is an acronym for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. This means the medication is taken before potential exposure to HIV. When prescribed, this medication is typically taken every day. In Alberta, this medication can be prescribed for free to an individual with Alberta health care, and is considered to be at high risk of HIV transmission. Alberta Health Services considered individuals who are at higher risk of transmission are as follows:
- Men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender women and gender diverse people reporting anal sex without a condom in the past 6 months and any of the following:
- Chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis infection in the past 12 months
- Sex partner(s) known to be living with HIV who are not taking treatment, have HIV virus in their blood or don’t know their HIV virus levels
- Multiple sex partners
- Heterosexual persons in an ongoing relationship with an HIV positive partner who is not taking treatment, has HIV virus in their blood or does not know their HIV virus levels
- People who inject drugs and share injection supplies
- Heterosexual persons engaging in sex with partner(s) who may be from a population or community with high rates of HIV
WHAT IS PEP?
PEP is an acronym for Post Exposure Prophylaxis. This means the medication is taken after potential exposure to HIV. Ideally, it should be taken as soon as possible after exposure, and no longer than 72 hours after. When prescribed, this medication is to be taken once or twice a day, for 28 days.