PrEP Specialist

Shawn Hassler, MD -  - Internal Medicine

Optimus Medical Group Inc

Shawn Hassler, MD

Internal Medicine & Internal Medicine located in Union Square, San Francisco, CA

The best way to avoid HIV is to prevent it. At Optimus Medical Group Inc in San Francisco, Shawn Hassler, MD, can prescribe you Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) which is an HIV prevention method. By following this method, you greatly reduce your risk of becoming infected. For further questions on PrEP, call the office at Optimus Medical Group Inc today or schedule your appointment online.

PrEP Q & A

What is PrEP?

PrEP is a method of HIV prevention where people take an HIV antiretroviral medication daily greatly reducing their risks of becoming infected. If you’ve been exposed to HIV, PrEP would not work for you, and you’d have to use post-exposure prophylaxis (POP). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, daily use of PrEP reduces your risk of HIV infection from sex by more than 90%, while reducing the risk among people who inject drugs by more than 70%.

For receptive anal sex, PrEP takes roughly seven days to reach high enough levels in your body to protect you if you become exposed to HIV. For injection drug use or receptive vaginal sex, Dr. Hassler recommends waiting 20 days prior to engaging in those activities.

Although rare, some people experience mild side effects while taking PrEP such as stomach discomfort or dizziness. These symptoms should subside within a few days.

Should I take PrEP?

PrEP is for anyone who isn’t infected with HIV but could be at risk for acquiring the virus such as:

  • Having had a recent STI of any kind
  • Your partner being HIV-positive
  • Injecting yourself with drugs
  • Having many partners
  • Having condomless sex

If you are HIV-negative and find yourself participating in any of the above activities, it’s critical to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hassler at Optimal Medical Group to see if PrEP is right for you.

How long do I need to take PrEP?

For PrEP to work, it must be taken daily. There is a multitude of reasons people stop taking PrEP.  Talk with Dr. Hassler about stopping PrEP if your risk of HIV infection drops because of changes in your life such as a long-term partner or marriage.

Do I have to use a condom if I’m using PrEP?

While a condom would only add more protection, if you’re taking PrEP daily, you’re still protected from HIV. Nonetheless, it’s important to remember PrEP doesn’t protect against STIs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, or syphilis. Because of this, using a condom is recommended to avoid any further health problems.

If you believe you are at risk of HIV and would like to learn more about PrEP, call Optimus Medical Group Inc today or schedule your appointment online.