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Taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV

Some of the same medicines prescribed for the treatment of HIV can also be prescribed for its prevention. If you have HIV, your doctor should prescribe antiretroviral therapy, or ART, which consists of medicines used to treat HIV infection. If you don’t have HIV but are at high risk for getting it, your doctor may prescribe specific medicines used to treat HIV to lower your chances of getting it. This is called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP. If taken the right way, every day, both ART and PrEP can dramatically reduce the chances that someone will get HIV. If you have a recent possible exposure to HIV, your doctor can prescribe the same medicines used for PrEP to reduce your chances of becoming HIV-positive. This is called post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP.