Popping PrEP

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

I’m back! It's been a month now since my first popped pill and I suppose it’s time for an update.  The good news is, this column is going to be short and, (debatably) sweet, because I have no qualms with this new daily regimen. 

The first thing a new PReP user is instructed to do is to find a non-intrusive time of day to set aside for popping your PReP. The key is that the pill has to be taken at relatively the same time each day, give or take 2 hours each way. If you miss a dose, you’re not supposed to take it late, but skip the day and resume your schedule the following day. This schedule allows the active drug to be most effective. If you miss a day, it takes 2-3 days of being back on track to be back up above the 90% effective rate. 

The first week I had some “off-label” side effects. I felt increasingly anxious, but because anxiety is primarily a mental side effect, I quickly reminded myself that I was internally causing this issue and it resolved itself. I didn’t field any other side effects and after that first week the anxiety went away. Getting in the habit of taking PReP was easy, I leave the pill bottle next to my coffee maker (which I actually don’t use…) and it provides a visual cue every morning at 7:45 as I stumble to the shower. 

I have missed a two doses, and I know I have to get in a better habit of taking the pills with me when I leave Philadelphia for the weekend. I confessed this to YHep at my first follow-up visit, and she comforted me by letting me know I’m not alone, many new PReP patients face the readjustment in their first month. At the follow-up visit I was once again tested for HIV and all STD’s, and was informed that at my 3-month follow-up my urine would be screened to check PReP's effects on my liver.   

It’s become an easy part of my routine, and if I could advise every gay man to take this easy and, basically, free step to leading a healthier lifestyle.

YHep Contact Info:
Philadelphia FIGHT (FIGHT)
1233 Locust Street, 3rd floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107
P: (215) 985-4448

Read the others to this 3 part series:

Prepping for PrEP A Trip to YHep for PrEp

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