Truvada – All you need to know about the wonder PrEP. As the search for a cure for HIV soldiers on, there are also frantic efforts by researchers to find a lasting solution to infections.
It is recently one of the drugs making waves and drawing a lot of attention.
In this piece, we take time to let you know all about the drug.
First of all, what is PrEP?
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is the use of drugs to prevent disease in people who have not yet been exposed to a disease-causing agent, usually a virus. The term typically refers to the specific use of antiviral drugs as a strategy for HIV/AIDS prevention.
PrEP is one of a number of HIV prevention strategies for people who are HIV negative but who also have higher-than-average risk of contracting HIV, including sexually active adults at increased risk of HIV (e.g. men who have sex with men), people who engage in injection drug use (see drug injection), and serodiscordant sexually active couples.
Here you are with all you need to know about this all important drug.
Before and while taking TRUVADA for PrEP:
You must be HIV-negative before you start and while taking TRUVADA for PrEP. Do not take TRUVADA to reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 unless you are confirmed to be HIV-negative.
Get tested for HIV-1 immediately before and at least every 3 months while taking TRUVADA.
If you think you were exposed to HIV-1, tell your healthcare provider right away.
Many HIV-1 tests can miss HIV-1 infection in a person who has recently become infected. If you have flu-like symptoms, you could have recently become infected with HIV-1. Tell your healthcare provider if you had a flu-like illness within the last month before starting or at any time while taking TRUVADA.
Symptoms of new HIV-1 infection include tiredness, fever, joint or muscle aches, headache, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, night sweats, and/or enlarged lymph nodes in the neck or groin.
You must continue to use safer sex practices. Just taking TRUVADA for PrEP may not keep you from getting HIV-1.
Do not miss any doses of TRUVADA. Missing doses may increase your risk of getting HIV-1 infection.
To further help reduce your risk of getting HIV-1:
Know your HIV status and the HIV status of your partners. If your partner is living with HIV, your risk of getting HIV is lower if your partner consistently takes HIV treatment every day.
Get tested for other sexually transmitted infections. Other infections make it easier for HIV to infect you.
Practice safer sex by using latex or polyurethane condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with body fluids.
Talk to your healthcare provider about all the ways to help reduce HIV risk.
If you do become HIV-1 positive, you need more medicine than TRUVADA alone to treat HIV-1. TRUVADA by itself is not a complete treatment for HIV-1. If you have HIV-1 and take only TRUVADA, your HIV-1 may become harder to treat now and in the future.
TRUVADA can cause serious side effects:
Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. Your healthcare provider will test you for HBV. If you have HBV and stop taking TRUVADA, your HBV may suddenly get worse. Do not stop taking TRUVADA without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to monitor your health.
Who should not take TRUVADA for PrEP?
Do not take TRUVADA for PrEP if you:
Already have HIV-1 infection or if you do not know your HIV-1 status. If you are HIV-1 positive, you need to take other medicines with TRUVADA to treat HIV-1. TRUVADA by itself is not a complete treatment for HIV-1. If you have HIV-1 and take only TRUVADA, your HIV-1 may become harder to treat over time.
What are the other possible side effects of TRUVADA for PrEP?
Serious side effects of TRUVADA may also include:
Kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys before and during treatment with TRUVADA. If you develop kidney problems, your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking TRUVADA.
Too much lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious but rare medical emergency that can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: weakness or being more tired than usual, unusual muscle pain, being short of breath or fast breathing, stomach pain with nausea and vomiting, cold or blue hands and feet, feel dizzy or lightheaded, or a fast or abnormal heartbeat.
Severe liver problems, which in rare cases can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow, dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored stools, loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, or stomach-area pain.
Bone problems, including bone pain, softening, or thinning, which may lead to fractures. Your healthcare provider may do tests to check your bones.
Common side effects in people taking TRUVADA for PrEP are headache, stomach-area (abdomen) pain, and decreased weight. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or do not go away.
What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking TRUVADA for PrEP?
All your health problems. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have or have had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis.
If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if TRUVADA can harm your unborn baby. If you become pregnant while taking TRUVADA for PrEP, tell your healthcare provider.
If you are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you think you may have recently become infected with HIV. HIV can be passed to the baby in breast milk. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of breastfeeding while taking TRUVADA for PrEP.
All the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. TRUVADA may interact with other medicines. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.
If you take certain other medicines with TRUVADA, your healthcare provider may need to check you more often or change your dose. These medicines include certain medicines to treat hepatitis B or C infection.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.FDA.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
What is TRUVADA for PrEP?
TRUVADA for PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a prescription medicine that can help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 through sex, when taken every day and used together with safer sex practices. This use is only for people who weigh at least 77 pounds and are HIV-negative and at risk of getting HIV-1.
To help determine your risk of getting HIV-1, talk openly with your healthcare provider about your sexual health.