We’ve seen a few people who have tested positive for HIV after incorrectly using PrEP “on-demand”. Here’s some tips to help you know how to do it correctly and safely.
On-demand (or “event-based”) PrEP dosing is a flexible option for taking PrEP. It has many advantages, especially for those self-funding who want to get more bang(s) for their buck. But you need to be well-organised to make it work for you.
You need to take 2 pills at least 2 hours (but ideally 24 hours) before having sex. If you leave it too late you will not be protected and will need to come and get PEP instead.
It’s also really important that you get the post-sex doses right. You need to take one pill 24 hours after the pre-sex doses and another pill 24 hours after this. Lots of guys aren’t taking the second post-sex dose and this is critical in protecting you from contracting HIV.
Organisation is key – you need to take all doses roughly the same time each day (plus or minus 2 hours either side is OK) to make sure you have enough PrEP in your system to protect you from HIV. If you struggle to manage this, try setting an alarm to help you.
If you are really likely to forget, then it might be better to switch to daily PrEP instead, as you don’t have to remember the timings quite as rigidly.
Here is a great Australian resource with 6 simple steps for successfully taking on-demand PrEP, with some great recommendations about making it work for you, as well as some visuals to help you remember all of these steps when taking event-based PrEP.
And here is a resource from the team at i-Base – Which is handy to keep near your PrEP supply if ever you have any questions.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask a doctor, nurse or health advisor in clinic. It’s better to make sure you’re fully informed when it comes to PrEP.