Congratulations, Norway! PrEP, the HIV prevention pill, is now available and fully covered in Norway. Norway joins France as the second country in Europe to make PrEP available as part of its health care system.
Wait… what’s PrEP again?
PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is the strategy of taking an anti-HIV medication — in this case Truvada — every day. PrEP has been shown to be effective at preventing HIV over 96 percent of the time. That said, while PrEP prevents against HIV, it does not prevent sexually transmitted infections (STI) or pregnancy.
Are there side-effects?
Side-effects are rare and occurred in less than 10 percent of study participants. Of the 10 percent to suffer side effects, most were side-effects common to starting new medications — nausea, headache, and weight loss. A smaller percentage of that group, however, experienced kidney or bone density issues. It’s standard protocol when taking PrEP to have your kidney functions and bone density regularly monitored about once every three months. That way, if you happen to be one of the rare cases, it will be caught quickly and taken care of.
How is PrEP beneficial?
PrEP can be an excellent HIV-prevention option because it gives the user more control over their sexual health and PrEP also allows for regular engagement around their health care. Many people who take PrEP say it allows them to feel less afraid or anxious during sex. They are confident in PrEP’s protection and are no longer worried all the time about getting HIV.
How can I get PrEP for free in Norway?
According to Leif-Ove Hansen, chair of HivNorge, you can “get an appointment with your family MD/FASTLEGE. The MD can start the PrEP treatment, or if they are not comfortable with prescribing PrEP, they MUST refer the patient to the nearest infection disease clinic. In Oslo this is ‘infeksjonsmedisinsk poliklinikk Ullevål, OUS‘.”
New options for prevention are always a good thing. If you think PREP is an option for you, there is more information in Norwegian at this link.
How are gay social apps adapting to PrEP?
New options for prevention are always a good thing and it’s an excellent opportunity to talk about your status. The Know Your Status (KYS) feature in Hornet allows you to select and disclose your HIV status, as well as sign up for testing or engagement reminders. The KYS feature helps create a community where one can affirmatively and unashamedly declare their HIV status or PrEP use. The more people that are willing to speak out about using PrEP or being HIV-positive, the stronger our community grows.
(composite featured image via Elvert Barnes)