PrEPPrEP for HIV Prevention

PrEP is a daily pill that reduces your chance of getting HIV by up to 99%.

Is PrEP for me?
If you’re HIV-negative and you weigh at least 77 lbs, PrEP could be a great way to protect yourself from HIV. A healthcare provider can help you decide if PrEP is right for you.

What does “PrEP” stand for?
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

  • Pre = before
  • Exposure = coming into contact with HIV
  • Prophylaxis = treatment to prevent an infection from happening

How does PrEP work?
PrEP prevents the HIV virus from from entering your cells and spreading – even if you’re exposed to HIV. When PrEP is taken every day, it reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by up to 99%. PrEP does not prevent other STIs, and it does not prevent pregnancy.

 

How do I get PrEP?
First, you need a prescription. Find a local provider of PrEP and make an appointment. Ask your healthcare provider about getting on PrEP, and speak openly about your risk for HIV. If PrEP is right for you, your healthcare provider will first test you for HIV and other STIs. After starting PrEP, you’ll need to visit your healthcare provider every 3 months for follow-up testing.

How do I pay for PrEP?
Most insurances cover PrEP. There are several PrEP payment assistance programs for folks who do or don’t have insurance.

Is PrEP safe?
Yes. There are no serious side effects to PrEP use. Some people have minor side effects, which don’t last for long. You might feel nausea for a short time after starting PrEP. Slight loss of bone density has been seen in some patients, but it returns to normal after ending PrEP. You’ll be tested and monitored every three months, so your healthcare provider will make sure your PrEP use is safe.

Playbook recommendations:

  1. Use PrEP along with a birth control method to prevent pregnancy
  2. Use PrEP along with condoms to reduce the risk of transmitting other STIs

Have more questions? Check out the PrEP FAQ from Greater Than AIDS.

PEP

PEP is a combination of pills that HIV negative people can take to stay negative after an unexpected exposure to HIV. PEP is not a long term strategy for preventing HIV, and should only be used in emergencies. PEP can be prescribed by your healthcare provider up to 72 hours (3 days) AFTER a potential exposure, and it must be taken every day for 28 days.

PEP is generally used for people who:

  • Might have been exposed to HIV during sex – like the condom broke and you think your partner might have HIV
  • Are sexually assaulted
  • Shared needles and works to prepare drugs

What does “PEP” stand for?
Post-Exposure Prophylaxis

  • Post = after
  • Exposure = coming into contact with HIV
  • Prophylaxis = treatment to prevent an infection from happening

How to get PEP
Your health care provider, urgent care, or an emergency room doctor can prescribe PEP. If you need PEP due to unexpected HIV risk, it’s important to talk to a doctor as soon as possible.