There are an estimated 1.2 million people in the US living with HIV, and roughly 1 in 8 people are undiagnosed. The virus attacks your body’s immune system and weakens its ability to fight infections. When HIV is untreated, it can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and the body becomes even more at risk for opportunistic infections.

While antiretroviral therapy has been available to treat HIV-positive patients for some time now, certain antiretroviral medications are also FDA-approved to be taken daily to prevent the risk of becoming infected with HIV. This treatment, known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), is intended for people who do not currently have HIV but are at risk for contracting HIV. Overall, PrEP has shown to reduce the risk of contracting HIV through sexual contact and injecting drugs by 99% and 74%.

The main goal of any PrEP treatment is to prevent the transmission of HIV to an uninfected person. There are multiple treatments available to help reduce the risk. Regardless of which medication a patient takes, these medications must be taken consistently every day as prescribed. It is also crucial to not skip or miss doses. Possible side effects from PrEP medications primarily include nausea, but in general, these medications are well-tolerated. Despite this, it is still important to tell a healthcare provider about any side effects experienced.

Advances in antiretroviral treatments have made it possible for patients to live healthy, vibrant lives. That said, patient management programs are very valuable to patients whose ability to take their medications as prescribed has direct impact on the long-term success of their treatment.