PrEP for Women: What You Need to Know About HIV Prevention

PrEP for Women

PrEP for women is a powerful HIV prevention tool that anyone, including women, can use. When taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective in preventing HIV infection. It’s used before and after exposure to the virus, making it an ideal form of protection for women at high risk for HIV infection.

You may have heard of PrEP for HIV before but don’t know much about it. Our guide will fill you in on what you need to know about PrEP and its benefits.

What is PrEP?

PrEP is a new(ish) HIV prevention tool that anyone, including women, can use. PrEP is short for pre-exposure prophylaxis. It’s a daily medicine that can be taken by people who do not have HIV to prevent infection.

Here are some reasons women consider taking PrEP, including:

  • You are in a relationship with an HIV-positive partner
  • You are not in a monogamous relationship
  • You have multiple sexual partners
  • You have recently been diagnosed with another STI via STD testing

With this information, it’s time to discover the benefits of PrEp and how it works for those that take it.

How Does PrEP Work?

PrEP works by protecting your cells from HIV infection. The PrEP medication consists of two drugs, tenofovir, and emtricitabine. These work together keeps HIV cells from replicating themselves.

PrEP is taken before and after exposure to HIV.

PrEP is not a vaccine, so it does not prevent you from getting other STIs. It is important to remember that PrEP should be used with other prevention methods such as condoms.

One thing we have to say is PrEP doesn’t cure HIV if you’ve contracted it. It is strictly a measure used as a prevention tool.

PrEp is Not For…

PrEP is not for women with an HIV status that is unknown to them. As mentioned above, it’s a medication that should be used only for women that are currently HIV-negative.

Do you have decreased kidney function? Be sure to talk to your doctor about this before starting PrEP. PrEP may not be for you then.

Are you pregnant or breastfeeding? PrEP is not recommended for use during these two life events. When you seek herpes treatment, this medication might be an option your doctor recommends.

How to Get It?

The only way to get PrEP is through a prescription by a licensed doctor. Before going to your appointment, don’t forget to research the medication.

This way, you can be an active participant in your own care.

PrEP for Women: A Useful Guide

If you think PrEP for women is right for you, please let us help.

Are you ready to discuss things with a trained medical professional and determine if taking PrEP is an option for you? Book an appointment with Swell Clinic because we specialize in virtual sexual wellness and health.

Take back control of your sexual health and life today.

 

Are There False-Positive HIV Tests? Why?

false-positive HIV

The CDC recommends that Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 should get HIV tested at least once in their lifetimes. With that being said, many are wary of getting a false-positive HIV test result.

But do HIV tests really give false-positive tests? Why do they happen and what should you do once you get a false-positive test?

That’s what we’re here to look at today. Read on to find out more about false-positive results for HIV tests.

What is an HIV Test?

As you might have guessed, an HIV test examines whether or not you have contracted the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV. There are three common types of HIV tests that are regularly used.

One is a nucleic acid test or NAT. It involves drawing blood from the patient to see how present the virus is in their system.

Another type of HIV test is an antigen/antibody test which searches for both antigens and antibodies in a person’s system. These are laboratory tests that also involve drawing blood.

There are also rapid antibody tests that detect antibodies for HIV in your blood or oral fluid. These rapid tests work best when using blood drawn from the veins as opposed to oral fluids or from a finger prick.

So are False-Positive HIV Tests Possible?

The short answer to whether you can get a false-positive HIV test is: yes, but it depends on the circumstance. There are several causes for false-positive tests. This involves both the timing and the type of test.

After someone contracts HIV, there is a window period for when a test can accurately detect the virus in the body. A person doesn’t produce antibodies to fight the infection right away, hence this grace period.

In other words, someone can test too early for HIV and get a false-negative or false-positive. 

As mentioned before, you can get both an HIV lab test and a rapid, at-home test kit. The problem with rapid tests that we mentioned earlier is that many use oral fluids or blood from a finger prick.

These testing methods have been known to produce false-positives. While self-testers aren’t necessarily less accurate, the method by which you collect the sample affects the end result.

Some have reported getting a false-positive for HIV since they’ve contracted another STD or STI. As such, you should get STD testing done on top of your HIV testing just to be sure.

So What Should You Do?

If you are worried about a false-positive result, the best way to obtain peace of mind is through further testing. Testing for HIV often means testing more than once with the right time frame in mind produce better results. 

Make sure you get a test done after giving yourself enough time after potential exposure. That way, you won’t risk getting another false-positive.

Prep for HIV Testing

Getting a false-positive HIV test result is always a possibility, but they are avoidable. Use this guide to help you understand how they occur and find the right methods to get the most accurate HIV test result.

Are you looking for reliable STD testing or herpes treatment? Contact us today and we’ll get you started on a solution right away!

Women and HIV: Are Women Less Likely to Have HIV?

women and HIV

Did you know that 23% of the 1.1 million Americans living with HIV are women?

This might surprise many readers who see HIV as being a gay man’s disease. However, that just isn’t true. Also, there’s a big difference in the ways HIV impacts women specifically. 

Read on to get accurate, helpful information about women and HIV.

HIV Facts: Demographics Matter

The number of new HIV cases among women in the US is on the decline. Yet race, age, and other demographics mean that some groups are disproportionately impacted more than others. 

Ethnicity 

African-American women are especially affected by HIV. This group accounts for six of every ten new HIV cases among women.

For African-American women, the rate of HIV diagnosis was 14 times that of white women in the US. For Latinas, it was three times that of white women.

Globally, indigenous communities experience high rates of HIV. There are substantial disparities in HIV rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in various countries.

Age

HIV affects women of every age but especially women in their middle years and older.

In 2018, women aged 45 and older accounted for 36% of new HIV diagnoses. That’s twice the proportion of women under 25 years old.

Transgender Women

Trans women are affected by HIV to a much greater degree than other groups.

In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that the proportion of trans women living with HIV is 49 times higher than in the general adult population.

Is HIV Transmission More Common for Women?

The most common mode of HIV transmission is sex which involves vaginal and penis interaction. In other words, heterosexual sex. 

It’s important to note that HIV is twice as easily passed from an infected man to a woman as the other way around. More than 8 of every 10 women living with HIV got it from sex with a person with a penis. 

Sharing syringes for injecting drugs is another common mode of transmission.

Unfortunately, there are serious gynecological issues that impact women living with HIV. 

Gynecological Issues in Women Living With HIV

When we discuss women and HIV, we must discuss the gynecological issues at stake. 

Certain gynecological conditions are more common, more serious, and/or more difficult to treat in women living with HIV than those who are HIV-negative.

These include the following:

  • Vaginal infections such as yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis
  • Sexually transmitted infections or diseases such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis
  • Genital herpes
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease 

Click here to learn about where to go for affordable STD testing in the US. 

Let’s Keep Talking About Women and HIV

We hope the facts in this article highlight how important it is to continue to have conversations about women and HIV.

Until we remove the stigma around this virus, countless individuals will continue to be negatively impacted.

At the Swell Clinic, we provide professional and discreet sexual wellness and healthcare in a convenient virtual environment. 

Contact us today to book your simple, non-judgmental virtual appointment.