Over the last few months, there has been a lot of talking related to the new PrEP or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis and it has been incorporated into the everyday language of many people in the United States and other countries around the world.
But, what does PrEP mean? It’s a way to prevent hiv through the daily consumption of an antiretroviral called Truvada® by people with hiv. According to many studies Truvada® has 100% effectiveness in preventing hiv transmission among gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM).
The problem is that it is not available in Latin America. Also, if a person wanted to buy the drug they would have to pay $ 500 for a bottle containing 30 pills what makes it very difficult, if not impossible to get it in our country under the current situation.
The fact that PrEP is nearly 100% effective in preventing hiv does not mean we should neglect the use of condoms since PrEP does not protect against any other STIs including HPV, hepatitis B and syphilis, which are more common than you can imagine. In addition, even though significant side effects haven’t been found, PrEP could have a negative impact on long-term health.
It is important to highlight that PrEP and PEP are not the same thing. PEP stands for Post Exposure Prophylaxis and is the one that can be used up to 72 hours after having a sexual relationship in which there may have been a high risk of contracting hiv. PEP is available in several Latin American countries.
In short, the use of PrEP in Latin America is not very feasible. This leads us to keep in mind that the condom remains the best method of hiv prevention.