PrEP is a medication that is used to help reduce the risk of HIV infection. When taken as instructed, it can reduce the risk of HIV significantly, by up to 99%. So it’s important that you have a full understanding of what PrEP is and how it works. In you’re first appointment with a doctor about PrEP, you should have the opportunity to be able to talk about all of the potential side-effects of PrEP, how to take it, how to fill your PrEP prescription or to import it if you wish to do it that way, but also to have all of your questions answered in a way that helps you feel confident and able to move forward understanding what is going to be happening. It’s also a good chance to be able to discuss strategies to help you take the tablet on a regular basis and to also talk about what can happen when you first start taking PrEP.
When you have a good understanding of the risks, the side-effects, the benefits, and how to take it, if you are still happy to go ahead, then your doctor will be able to provide a prescription for PrEP. It’s important that you get specific testing done as well. So for PrEP, you do need to have a full sexual health screening, and this is to ensure firstly that you’re HIV negative before starting PrEP. But it’s a great chance to also check that all the rest of your sexual health is in great condition. It’s also important to do a check of kidney function. PrEP can affect kidneys in some people, so it’s important that we keep a close monitoring of your kidney function.
Finally, it’s great chance to be able to talk with your doctor about the follow-up, and that is every three months you do need to come back for kidney function testing, HIV testing, and sexual health screening as well. At this point, you’ll be able to get your next prescription for PrEP. So it is a regular routine at every three months you do need to come back. The subsequent appointments can be a little bit shorter and can usually be done in a 15-minute appointment because once you have an understanding of PrEP, we don’t need to go through the consent every single time. However, if you have questions or if you have side-effects, it’s important you bring them up with your doctor so you can talk about it.
This is what I wanted to basically teach you guys as to what to expect in a PrEP appointment. If you do see a doctor and they’re unsure about PrEP but willing to learn, there are many resources that can help them. However, if you experience a doctor that may not be fully aware of what to do, there are many doctors who are happy to help. Pen or PrEP access now has got a fantastic map that shows doctors who are willing, ready, and keen to prescribe PrEP, and I will put a link to that map here with the video as well. So I hope this is helpful and given you a bit of an idea about what to expect in a PrEP appointment when you go to see your doctor. I hope that was helpful. Have a great day. See you guys.