Leading LGBT charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) has moved to tackle uncertainty around the use of HIV-prevention drug PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Current advice from the government on preventing the spread of coronavirus is clear: stay at home and only see those within your own household. The consequence of following this directive is that hook-ups simply should not be happening - and as THT points out, that means there’s no need to keep taking PrEP.
“You can start and stop PrEP any time you like,” says the charity. “PrEP is only intended to be used when you are at risk of exposure to HIV. If you're not having sex, you don't need to use PrEP - but you must take one pill a day until you have two sex-free days."
When restarting PrEP, the charity advises taking a double dose (ie two PrEP pills) between two to 24 hours before sex, then following up with one pill daily for as long as needed. “For some people this will be a return to daily PrEP dosing,” says THT, “for others it might be 'on-demand' use, so remember to keep taking one PrEP pill until you have two sex-free days.”
The charity also moved to answer questions about whether or not individuals will be able to get regular HIV and STI check-ups during the Covid-19 outbreak: “There'll be changes to sexual health services, and this includes changes to regular monitoring for PrEP users. It's likely that most clinics will move consultations online or by phone. In an effort to reduce unnecessary travel and social contact, many sexual health services will move to home testing/home sampling. Check your local clinic's website for information or give them a call.”
For more information about PrEP and Covid-19, visit tht.org.uk
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