The medicine that prevents HIV is distributed free of charge by the Fundação de Medicina Tropical Dr. Heitor Vieira Dourado

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For many years, HIV prevention was reduced to condom use. With the advance of preventive methods, the fight against the virus that causes AIDS has acquired important allies. One of them is pre-exposure sexual prophylaxis, or simply Preperationa tablet which, taken daily, which decreases to 95% the risk of becoming infected with HIV. In Manaus, the drug is offered free of charge by the Fundação de Medicina Tropical Dr. Heitor Vieira Dourado (FMT-HVD).

The Foundation Infectologist, Noaldo Lucena states that the method is part of a virus prevention mandala, which also includes post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), early diagnosis and treatment of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and condoms. The specialist insists that the use of PrEP does not imply the need to use condoms.

“The idea is that she [a PrEP] to be part of this mandala, from the point of view that it is another instrument for me to have the necessary protection and prevention. It is a reminder,” he added.

PrEP consists of the daily use of a pill made up of two antiretroviral drugs, a treatment similar to that used in the case of HIV-positive pregnant women and which inhibits maternal-fetal infection. However, for it to be effective, it is important that the patient does not skip doses.

“Why are we talking about this? Because these are two drugs that are nukes, they have a very low genetic barrier, meaning they have to be circulating in the blood all the time,” added Noaldo.

To request the use of the method, the patient must go to one of the health units that work with the drug. If approved – after undergoing an interview – the patient must undergo follow-up tests every three months which check the body’s reaction to PrEP, in addition to tests for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B and C.

“Recall that the drug is distributed free of charge by the Ministry of Health, that is to say that there is no justification for you not to take it or for you to stop taking it”, endorsed the infectiologist.

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PrEP has a target audience, made up of gay men, men who have sex with men, sex workers, trans people, transvestites and serodiscordant couples (when someone is HIV positive and the other no). However, anyone with an active sex life can apply for the drug.

“It is even important that we ‘eliminate’ the use of PrEP. PrEP should be understood as something that can and should be used by anyone who is sexually active. Who will determine the risk factors for this is me as a person,” Noaldo defended.

Way of life

Another factor to consider when choosing PrEP is the patient’s lifestyle. The use of hepatotoxic and nephrotoxic drugs, in addition to alcohol, does not reduce the effect of the method; however, as this is a drug that acts on the kidneys and liver, it is important to be careful not to overload the organs.

“The aggressiveness is greater, that’s a fact. When talking about hepatic drugs, the more drug combination there is, the greater this aggressiveness will be. The liver and kidneys are the [órgãos] more compromised”, concluded the infectiologist.

With information from the consulting firm

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