PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is the practice of using prescription medicine to help reduce the risk of contracting HIV. PrEP is a daily pill regimen that can reduce your risk of contracting HIV by more than 90%. PrEP is meant for adults who are HIV-negative and are at a high risk for contracting HIV.
PrEP does not protect against all STIs. Continue to practice safe sex while on PrEP by using condoms.
Visit your doctor or see the list of recommended providers HERE. A health care provider will assess your risk for HIV and require an HIV test. A visit to your health care provider every three months is required once on PrEP.
PrEP should be taken daily to increase the effectiveness of the drug. Each dose skipped will reduce the amount of protection that PrEP offers.
PrEP is meant for HIV-negative individuals who are at a high risk of contracting HIV. Those who are at risk include HIV-negative men who have sex with men, and male-female sex partners when one partner has HIV and the other does not. Other risk groups include injection drug users. Talk to your doctor to assess your risk. You must get tested to make sure that you do not already have the HIV. PrEP should not be taken until you are confirmed to be HIV-negative.
If you have a partner who is HIV-positive and are considering getting pregnant, talk to your doctor about PrEP. PrEP may be an option to help protect you and your baby from getting HIV while you try to get pregnant, during pregnancy, or while breastfeeding.
Because PrEP is a daily medication and requires regular visits to a health care provider, it may not be right for everyone. PrEP may cause side effects in some people. These side effects are not life threatening and generally subside over a short period of time.
You should consider taking PrEP if you are at a high risk for contracting HIV. However, just taking PrEP is not enough. You must continue using safer sex practices while taking PrEP.
To further reduce your risk of getting HIV:
- Get tested for other sexually transmitted infections. Other infections make it easier for HIV to infect you.
- Use condoms.
- Have fewer sex partners.
- Do not miss any doses of PrEP. Missing doses may increase your risk of contracting HIV.
The cost of PrEP is covered by many health insurance plans, and a commercial medication assistance program provides PrEP free to people with limited income and no insurance. See the Truvada website for more information pertaining to how the cost of PrEP can be covered or reduced - https://start.truvada.com/paying-for-truvada
There have been no observed serious side effects. Some patients have experienced minor side effects such as an upset stomach or a loss of appetite. Side effects are usually mild and subside within a month. If you experience any side effects contact your healthcare provider.