If you haven’t heard it from us already, PrEP is one of the most effective ways to prevent HIV available today, if not the most effective. In fact, maintaining a daily regimen of PrEP can decrease your risk of HIV infection by 99%. But for some people, the routine necessary to keep up with a daily dose of PrEP is difficult, or even impossible to maintain.
Fortunately, there’s an option for taking PrEP before each sexual encounter that can still protect you from contracting HIV during anal sex. It’s called PrEP 2-1-1, and the team at wants you to learn more. Here are the answers to four frequently asked questions about it:
What is 2 1 1 PrEP (Also known as PrEP 2-1-1)?
PrEP 2-1-1 is not a different medication than the usual types of PrEP. 2-1-1 simply refers to the schedule by which those opting for the PrEP 2-1-1 take their medicine. Instead of taking one pill every day, here’s how this method works:
- Take two pills 2-24 hours before sex. Closer to 24 hours before sex is better.
- Continue to take one pill every 24 hours, as long as you are having sexual encounters.
- Once you stop having sexual encounters, take two final doses 24 hours apart
Using this method, you can build up enough antiviral power to benefit from all the protection of a typical PrEP regimen without having to take pills every single day.
Are There Other Differences Between PrEP 2-1-1 and Daily PrEP?
Yes. While some forms of daily PrEP are approved for use during any kind of sex, PrEP 2-1-1 has only been studied and approved to protect against anal sex. If you’re having receptive vaginal sex, you won’t be protected using 2-1-1, and should opt for a daily PrEP regimen. Additionally, it is not recommended for people with chronic Hepatitis B, or those who are on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) taking testosterone or estradiol.
Are There Similarities Between 2 1 1 PrEP and Daily PrEP?
Yes! Those who take PrEP via the 2-1-1 method will still need to get tested for HIV and other STDs every three months, just as those who are taking daily PrEP do. Your prescription will still most likely be written for daily dosing in order to limit the possibility that you’ll be denied coverage for “off label” medication. Additionally, the side effects of taking PrEP via the 2-1-1 method vs daily PrEP have shown to be virtually the same. Most importantly, however, if done correctly, 2-1-1 PrEP scheduling will grant you the same 99% protection against HIV that you would receive taking a pill daily.
Why Might I Want to Try 2-1-1?
There are a variety of reasons why a daily pill might be difficult or unnecessary for you, and PrEP 2-1-1 offers a solution by which you can stay protected on your own schedule. PrEP 2-1-1 is best for people who:
- Aren’t having sex with great frequency
- Are mostly having sex with the same person or people
- Generally know when they’re going to have sex
- Are willing to plan sexual encounters at least two hours in advance
Interested in starting PrEP on the PrEP 2-1-1 schedule? PrEP2Me offers an easy, accessible method to get PrEP online. Our PrEP delivery service includes an initial at-home STI test, telemedicine consultations with a real HIV specialist, and your prescription delivered right to your door. If you have more questions about PrEP 2-1-1, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (412) 844-7737.
If you believe you may have had a high-risk encounter, you’re in or , and you would like to get tested for HIV, don’t wait. As soon as you can, visit Central Outreach Wellness Center to see culturally-competent HIV doctors near you.
Get started with PrEP2Me, where we make staying safe easy and accessible for everyone!