What do I do if I want to stop taking PrEP during quarantine?

by | Sep 15, 2020 | Uncategorized

It’s a little difficult to stay 6 feet away from people while gettin’ down with some hanky panky. ? And if you aren’t seeing people or having sex right now (because we’re social distancing, right?), the million dollar question is if you still need to take PrEP?

Do I NEED to keep taking PrEP if I’m social distancing?

No, you do not. You can stop taking PrEP any time you’re not having sex for a long time.  According to POZ magazine, some experts recommend taking PrEP for 28 days after the last time you have sex to be safe. But, according to The World Health Organization (WHO), you should be in the clear after taking two daily doses following your last time having sex.

 When you’re ready to get back on the saddle and start taking PrEP again, we recommend taking 21 daily doses before having sex. By taking three weeks’ worth of your prescription, you’ll have enough of the drug in your system to reach its full effectiveness.

What about the 2-1-1 method?

You might’ve heard of the 2-1-1 method for men who are having sex with other men. This is also referred to as an “on-demand schedule.” For this method, you would take two of your prescribed doses of Truvada 2-24 hours before having sex, one dose within 24 of having sex, and one more the following day.

Keep in mind that this is not proven effective yet with Descovy and is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just yet. But, clinical trials are showing promising results and some PrEP clinics across the country are offering it. Before trying this method, speak with your PrEP coordinator to see if it’s a good option for you.

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Is it safe to keep taking PrEP if I’m not having sex?

Absolutely! It’s totally okay to stay on PrEP during quarantine. It’s no secret that PrEP gives us a lot of comfort and reduces anxiety, and we could all use a little bit of stress-relief and peace of mind right now. ? If continuing to take PrEP gives you comfort, then we encourage you to carry on. Your mental health is just as important as your physical and sexual health. 

We also know that many people thrive from routine. Similar to taking the placebo pill, or “sugar pill,” with birth control while you’re on your period, you might feel like you need to take it so that you don’t forget to take it once you start again. If you don’t want to shake up your routine, then don’t! There’s no harm in continuing to take your daily dose.

What do I do if I want to have sex but stopped taking PrEP?

If things get hot and heavy and you haven’t been taking PrEP, your next-best option is to use a condom. We get it, life happens! ??‍♂️ If you think you’ve been exposed, and just want to be sure you don’t get infected, discuss taking Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) within 72 hours of exposure (the earlier, the better!). PEP is a 28-day round of medication to stop the HIV infection in its tracks from taking hold in the body.

Better safe than sorry

We recommend checking in with your healthcare provider and PrEP coordinator – like our very own AKeem and Deemyi – before jumping back into it (both literally and figuratively ?). After all, it’s always a good idea to get tested for HIV and other STIs before having sex again when you’ve taken a break from your prescription. Be safe and keep popping PrEP to block HIV!

Have more PrEP questions?

This sweet, intelligent blogger is open to chat. Give him a call at (216-714-2223) or fill out the form next to this blog.

Ask for help connecting to a doctor for PrEP.

Fiona Allan, University Hospitals
Call 216.286.7737
AKeem Rollins, MetroHealth
Call or Text 216.714.2223

Email AKeem at Metro for PrEP

Email Fiona at UH for PrEP