If I take PrEP, does this mean I have to take it for the rest of my life?

No. As an analogy, think of the birth control pill, where women take a daily hormonal contraceptive to prevent pregnancy. Most women do not take the birth control pill indefinitely; they take it for the years that they have sex and do not wish to get pregnant or until they reach menopause. Think of these years as a “season.” Taking the birth control pill is appropriate for women who are in the “season” of being at risk for unwanted pregnancies.

To apply this same rationale to PrEP, think of PrEP as an HIV prevention option where HIV-negative individuals take a pill to prevent HIV infection for the “season” when they are most at risk for being exposed to HIV and when other existing HIV prevention options are not available or acceptable to them. More research is needed to determine the long-term effects of taking this drug for a prolonged period of time, and how best to start and stop PrEP safely during these “seasons” of risk.

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