Sex, PrEP, and COVID

12.5.2021
3 min read
Dr. Caley Shukalek
Dr. Husein Moloo

COVID has resulted in many changes in social habits and safety practices, so patients have had questions about PrEP and COVID. Our team has compiled some answers for you below. Have a read!

Should I just get off PrEP if I’m not having sex now?

Pausing, or even stopping PrEP, is 100% your choice.

If you’re not having sex for a significant period of time, stopping PrEP might be something to consider. But plans sometimes change unexpectedly, so keep that in mind!

However if you think you might become sexually active again (as we roll into the summer), it might make sense to just stay on PrEP. This is because you will need to get lab tests again to re-start and another set of lab tests at 30 days (similar to the first time you started PrEP to make sure your results are negative).

We know labs aren’t your favorite part of being on PrEP, so we’re being transparent and trying to save you the hassle.

How do I get off PrEP?

Getting off is not a problem! However, there are a few things you need to do to get off safely and to ensure you are still protected from HIV:

Have a quick conversation with a clinician. You can do so by clicking here!

Continue taking PrEP for another 14 days from the date you want to stop, or the last time you had a sexual encounter - whichever is longer

These are both essential to make sure you are safe and protected from HIV. A bit bothersome (we know!) but we’re here to help you through it.

How easy/difficult is it to get back on PrEP post-COVID?

We’ll make it as easy as we can for you to get back on! While you will need to get lab tests done before you start, and 30 days after you start, our clinical team will (securely) have your notes stored so you can pick up your care from where you left off.

Just send us a secure message through the Freddie patient portal or give your personal Care Coordinator a call or text whenever you feel you are ready to start again. If you're not a Freddie patient yet, fill out our short questionnaire to get started - you'll be matched with a Care Coordinator for free.

Can I be on PrEP and get the COVID vaccine?

There is NO evidence of interaction between PrEP and any COVID vaccines approved in Canada. In other words, there is no reason that being on PrEP should stop you from getting vaccinated, or that being vaccinated should stop you from being on PrEP. In fact we encourage you to get the vaccine to protect yourself and everyone around you.

We hope this information provided some comfort during these challenging times. To find the answers to many common sexual health and PrEP-related questions, visit our FAQ page!

If you need further medical guidance, set up a call with a Freddie clinician! They’d be happy to speak to any concerns you might have.

Written by:
Dr. Caley Shukalek

Caley is passionate about evidence-based, patient-centred care, including telemedicine that can provide high quality care from wherever a patient may choose.

He helped create Alberta's PrEP guidelines and works as a specialist in General Internal Medicine with additional training in sexual health, including HIV and sexually transmitted infections.

He holds an Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, an MD from the University of Calgary and an MSc from the University of Alberta.

Dr. Husein Moloo

I firmly believe virtual care can improve access to care, for all Canadians, no matter who you are.

Husein has a Master's in Public Health from Brown University, an MD from the University of Calgary and a Diploma in Tropical Medicine & Hygiene from the University of London School of Tropical Medicine. He practices as a physician in Canada.