Can You Get HIV When Taking PrEP?
“But isn’t there people who have become HIV positive while taking Prep?” There have been cases around the world where people have become HIV positive while taking PrEP. By far the biggest risk for becoming HIV positive while taking PrEP is not taking the medication. We know that the efficacy of this drug is dropping dramatically when less than four tablets are taken each week. For this reason, we do recommend that people take their tablet every day.
Worldwide, there have been some cases of people who have become infected with HIV whilst reliably taking the medication. Of these cases, two of the cases were people who were infected with an extremely rare strain of HIV that was resistant to both of the drugs in Truvada. This is actually extremely rare, and when you compare that to the tens of thousands of people who have been protected against HIV these are quite freak events.
There is one case where somebody has become infected with HIV and was not infected with a resistant strain and there is ongoing research into this particular case to learn more about what has happened in this particular episode. What we can say is that when taken every day, the efficacy of PrEP is high, around about 99% for people who take the tablet daily. This is significantly higher than what we would expect for other interventions such as immunizations for the flu, mumps, or measles, which can be around about 70-86%. This is a very effective treatment, however we acknowledge that it is not 100%.
However, we want people to go into this with the full information and understanding that when taken reliably, it is extremely effective at preventing HIV infection.