Q and A

Question

Is PrEP affected by the new coronavirus and COVID-19?

I have been on PrEP for a while and want to know if I should be worried about still getting this given coronavirus problems?

Answer

Hi

The increasing global responses to the coronavirus health crisis will affect everyone. This includes:

  • Changes in our personal lives limiting physical interaction, increased hand-washing and protected coughing etc.
  • The economic impact on our work and closed businesses, and
  • Critical pressure on health services like the NHS.

PrEP meds will still be available during the coronavirus health crisis. However, most PrEP clinics will be rearranging services to protect your health and reduce risk of further cases of COVID-19.

This will likely mean testing less frequently for HIV and STIs, but PrEP will still be safe and effective. This will also include people in England on the PrEP IMPACT trial

However, the urgency of social physical isolation also includes limiting physical interactions with new sexual partners. Virtual sex is safe, or sex with current partner(s) who you already live with. This also depends on whether your partners are also physically self distancing.

Globally, people are being asked to stop hooking up in person. That’s because meeting new people, or people you don’t live with, risks spreading coronavirus. For example, if your pertner doesn’t yet have symptoms. Please take this into account when making decisions about meeting partners. Even if you don’t have symptoms, you or your partners might be passing it on to other people.

This isn’t going to be an easy time but it will protect both your health and the wider community – especially during the weeks from the end of March and the first weeks of April 2020 or longer.

For more information on PrEP and coronavirus, please see this information from HIV Scotland that i-Base contributed to.

Sensible advice on sex and COVID-19 is included in the link from NYC.

  • PrEP and coronavirus: what you need to know (HIV Scotland)
    Include easy to read Q&As including:
    • Can I stop taking my daily PrEP?
    • Does PrEP prevent or treat COVID-19?
    • Can I change from daily dosing to event based PrEP?
    • Will I still be able to get my prescription for PrEP?
    • Will I still be able to get my regular STI check-up during this time?
    • How can I safely restart PrEP?
    • What if I’ve stopped PrEP and have the chance to have sex?
    • What is physical distancing?
  • Sex and COVID-19 (New York City)
    This information (online as a PDF file) include positive information about how to manage a safer approach to sex during the coronavirus health crisis. It covers the safety of sex with yourself and of virtual sex including if your job currently includes sex work.
  • UK guide to PrEP (including new info about coronavirus)

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