Ask the Doc: “PrEP”-ing for Pride

As hundreds of thousands ascend on Atlanta for Pride 2019, those planning in being sexually active should prepare and plan accordingly. We caught up with Absolute Care’s Terry Hackworth on how visitors and locals can make sure they’re staying safe while enjoying the pride weekend!


Q: How can visitors or locals prepare to be sexually active before Pride even starts? Are there medications people can take, etc? 

To prepare before Pride, if the person is already on PrEP then they need to continue their medication daily to be sure that it remains effective. If they are not on PrEP, then they will need to prepare by having a supply of condoms and/or barrier methods such for females, the female condom. Currently, other than the recommendations for daily PrEP, there are no other recommendations for medications that can be taken before sexual activity.


Q: When it comes to PrEP, many people only take PrEP when they’re going to be sexually active. Why is this a bad way of using the drug? Many say you need at least a week’s worth of daily pills for it to protect against HIV contraction. Is there any truth to this? 

“Currently, there are no guidelines or recommendations for a person to take PrEP “On Demand”, there has been some research but in the United States there are no recommendations to take PrEP as needed. The guidelines state that PrEP must be taken daily to protect from acquiring HIV. It is indeed recommended that a person be on PrEP for 7-10 days to allow enough time for drug levels to increase in the blood and rectal tissue to provide a high level of protection.”


Q: How important are condoms in 2019? While many are on PrEP, using condoms can protect against STD’s and more. Why is it important for people to still use condoms regardless of if they’re on PrEP? 

Condoms remain vitally important to the protection against HIV and other STIs such as gonorrhea, syphilis, and Chlamydia. The effectiveness of condoms is still proven by research to protect against these infections.


Q: What do you tell patients to help them understand that it’s ok to be sexually adventurous but to just do it responsibly? 

“Providing patients with the most up-to-date research and guidelines is the best way to provide education to the patient. Discussing in detail risk factors associated with their sexual activity and how best to protect themselves but at the same time have the sexual pl