Beginning in September at Clinique médicale l'Actuel
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) involves administering antiretroviral treatments for the purpose of prevention.
These treatments prevent HIV infection in patients by blocking the virus’ replication cycle. As a result, people at high risk of HIV infection can receive this treatment on request before having sexual relations, in order to avoid contracting the virus.
The latest studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of HIV infection by 92%.
Consequently, PrEP proves to be a particularly effective means of prevention, in addition to strategies already in place, which include the use of condoms and regular screening.
his is a major step toward a comprehensive approach to prevention that reduces the risk of infection based on the level of risk.
At Clinique médicale l’Actuel, we have been prescribing PrEP since 2011.
However, PrEP is poorly known and not yet sufficiently used. It is therefore important to inform communities at the greatest risk of the benefits that this new prevention strategy provides, and to make it available as often as possible.
For this reason, we have decided to open PrEP clinics.
HIV infection remains a major concern in the gay community. Between 2009 and 2013, the number of new HIV diagnoses increased by 17%. Three-quarters (76.4%) of new diagnoses were among men who have sex with men (MSM). In addition, the trend shows an increase in new diagnoses among the young MSM population under age 35.
PrEP is intended for HIV-negative people. Before starting PrEP, patients must therefore undergo a test to determine their HIV status. Also, to verify the patient’s health status, we will perform a blood test to check, among others, if the kidneys and liver are working properly and screen for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
The treatment used for PrEP is Truvada. Since 2004, it has proven its efficacy in treating people living with HIV. It can have mild side effects, such as stomach pain, weight loss or headaches, especially at the beginning of treatment. As a result, we must provide medical support and adequate monitoring to individuals taking PrEP.
Any person who would like to take PrEP, or is wondering if they should take it, may reserve a time slot available for this purpose.
It is important to assess whether or not PrEP is indicated in each case, i.e. weigh the pros and cons between the potential side effects of taking the medication every day and the risk of contracting HIV.
Each person who makes an appointment at a l’Actuel PrEP clinic will meet a doctor and a nurse, who will take the time to assess the patient’s risk, evaluate the possibility of prescribing PrEP, explain the treatment and its use (continuous or intermittent), and answer all the patient’s questions.
All of the clinic’s doctors and nurses are committed to this project. We have developed a monitoring protocol for people taking PrEP, which consists of blood tests and STI screening every three months, along with an evaluation to ensure successful adherence to treatment.
This close monitoring includes frequent counselling, in which our staff encourage patients to invite their partners to get tested, as well as remind them that PrEP is not 100% effective, and it is better to combine the treatment with other means of protection, such as the condom. In addition, PrEP does not protect against other STIs.
It is possible to make available, effectively and to the most people possible, a genuine preventive strategy that combines regular testing, PrEP, PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) and the promotion of safe behaviour.
At l’Actuel, we are convinced that by putting these integrated preventive strategies into practice, we can help eliminate HIV within five to ten years.