Preventing the risk through both body and mind
Prep Works When Taken Correctly
Numerous scientific studies have tested the effectiveness of PrEP in preventing the transmission of HIV to uninfected people, and findings point to a 99% success rate even in high risk individuals.
Research has shown that individuals that take the drug as regularly as possible, i.e. daily, are99% protected from the virus. A study conducted on gay men and transgender women that sleep with men showed that even those who took the PrEP drug the original brand name PrEP medication at least four times a week were still 99% effectively protected from infection, however it is important to note that the recommended dosage is daily. As studies point out, adherence to taking the PrEP medication daily or at least four times a week is crucial to its effectiveness. In other words, regular intake is imperative to maximizing protection from the virus.
Encouraging Risky Behaviour Or A Gentle Reminder?
Despite PrEP having been tested and proved successful by various reliable studies, there are some challenges undermining its mass roll out by the NHS. One major concern that presented itself in discussions involving PrEP uptake is whether this prevention method encourages risky sexual behaviour amongst sexually active individuals.
Critics of the PrEP uptake claim that regular use of the drug increases risky sexual behaviour by vulnerable individuals, which puts them at more risk of acquiring HIV. However, there are currently no studies with evidence to show that taking PrEP increases sexually risky behaviour.In fact, one study showed that risky sexual behaviour actually decreased significantly amongst the individuals participating in the research. The researchers hypothesized that this phenomenon could be due to the daily reminder the pill serves of the risk of acquiring HIV. The daily reminder acts as a deterrent from engaging in risky behaviour that could jeopardize the health of the individual taking the pill.
Furthermore, researchers believe that the counselling and provision of condoms that is usually done in conjunction with the provision of PrEP actually helps to convince individuals to change their behaviour in order to minimise their risk of exposure.
These findings prove that the daily use of PrEP can actually act both as a chemical and a psychological deterrent when it comes to risky sexual behaviour, rather than serve as encouragement for reckless sexual behaviour.
When taken correctly, PrEP provides a daily dose of medication for the body and arguably a daily reminder to the mind to exercise caution in one’s sex life.