Does PrEP Cause HIV Resistance?

Can PrEP Cause Resistant Strains Of HIV?

If I’m taking prep, does this mean that I won’t be able to be treated with the drugs in the future if I become HIV positive?

When somebody’s taking prep, they’re HIV negative, we’re using it as a prevention tool. For HIV resistance to occur, a person has to already be infected with HIV. Therefore, as long as you’re taking the tablets reliably, the chance of HIV infection is greatly reduced by 99%. As long as you’re HIV negative, resistance cannot occur. If you stop taking prep and become infected with HIV in the future, you will still be able to be treated with the drugs found in Truvada, assuming that the strain of HIV you’ve been infected with can be treated with the drugs within Truvada.

If a person becomes infected with HIV while taking prep, there is a chance that resistance could develop. For this reason, it’s very, very important that you are getting a regular screening when you’re taking prep. Here in Australia the recommendations are that you come in every three months for a full sexual health screening, including HIV. If we notice anything unusual happening with the bloods at this time, we are able to get in, work out what’s going on, and then find a treatment to switch to to ensure that you’re getting the optimal treatment for HIV.