Millions of people around the world are helping to end the HIV epidemic using:
All three methods rely on people taking approved antiretroviral drugs. HIV-negative people use PrEP and PEP to stay HIV-negative, and people living with HIV use TasP to stay healthy and prevent transmission to others.
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is an HIV prevention strategy that enables HIV-negative people to stay HIV-negative by taking anti-HIV drugs (also called antiretrovirals, or "ARVs") before they are exposed to HIV. So far, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved three options for PrEP:
Talk to your doctor to find out if PrEP may be right for you. We know that:
New methods to deliver PrEP over longer periods are also being studied. These methods could release anti-HIV drugs into the body over a period of several months to prevent HIV. For example, researchers are studying the possibility of an implant consisting of tiny rods that could be placed just beneath the surface of the skin by a medical provider. This method is still early in development.
Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), on the other hand, is a prevention technique that uses a short-term regimen of ARV pills after exposure to HIV.
Treatment as Prevention (TasP) refers to the use of anti-HIV drugs by someone who has HIV to stay healthy and to reduce the chance of transmitting HIV to others through sex, needle sharing, or during pregnancy and birth.
TasP works by decreasing the amount of HIV in the body. This makes a person’s blood, vaginal fluid, breast milk, and semen less likely to pass HIV to others. When people living with HIV reduce the amount of virus in the body to "undetectable" levels (known as "viral suppression"), the chance of transmitting HIV to others through sex is reduced to zero--even sex without condoms or PrEP.
"PrEP, microbicides, and all these different acronyms and multisyllabic words that we have can be a little daunting, but you lower those barriers to the language, and then they realize that they know more about it than they even thought."