Whether you’ve been using PrEP for a while or are thinking about joining the estimated 18,000+ people in Australia already on board, here are some handy tips for storing your pills, using them correctly, the colours they come in and what to do in the unlikely event yours split.
If you haven’t heard of PrEP, head over to Introducing PrEP – the little blue pill making a big impact to discover more about this groundbreaking HIV prevention strategy that’s helping to decrease new HIV transmissions in Australia and across the world.
PrEP is just one of the tools available in the HIV prevention toolkit. To discover other options that could be right for you or your partners, check out Using four great options to prevent HIV: a combination for success.
How to store PrEP
If you’re getting steamy, just make sure you’re pills don’t! Exposure to heat or dampness can damage your pills, so be sure to store your PrEP in its original packaging in a cool dry place (under 25°C) and out of direct sunlight. And remember, if you drive a vehicle, conditions inside can heat up quickly and intensely, so avoid leaving your pills in it.
One PrEP pill is not enough
It takes more than swallowing just one PrEP pill to protect you against HIV. Using PrEP for highly effective HIV prevention involves checking in with a doctor for full sexual health testing and carefully following instructions for using the medication as advised.
Depending on your circumstances there are two ways you can use PrEP. Daily PrEP involves taking one PrEP pill a day, every day. On-demand PrEP involves following a carefully timed dosing strategy. Chat with your doctor or with us to discover what option could be best for you and how you can use PrEP safely.
However you use PrEP, embedding it into your routine and adopting a reminder system can ensure you stick to the right dosing schedule. Try keeping your PrEP pills in close proximity to things you do every day — next to your toothbrush, by your bedside table or near the toaster. Set a recurring reminder on your phone, or download a pill reminder app for smart phones.
PrEP comes in different shapes and colours
Not all PrEP pills are blue! PrEP can come in a variety of different shapes, sizes and colours depending on the manufacturer. All of the different versions of PrEP sold in Australian pharmacies are approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and work the same way to prevent HIV.
PrEP purchased from online pharmacies for personal importation might look different too. The team at PAN (PrEPaccessNOW) made a handy visual guide for knowing your PrEP pills. You can also hit them up for free PrEP if you’re unable to afford it for any reason!
What to do with split pills
It’s uncommon to come across split PrEP pills. But should you discover yours are split in the package, it’s best not to use them. Take your pills and their original packaging back to the pharmacy to organise a replacement.
Hit us up
For friendly, non-judgmental advice on PrEP, HIV prevention and anything you’d like to know about looking after your sexual health, feel comfortable to ask us any time.