PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is an FDA-approved, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended daily prevention pill for HIV-negative people who are especially vulnerable to getting HIV. Taken daily, PrEP is up to 99% effective at preventing HIV. Many people who take PrEP report they experience peace of mind while having sex. That peace of mind brings relief from the intense fear — and stigma — of HIV that has characterized our sexual lives for far too long. PrEP users also report feeling safer in their relationships and more in control regarding their sexual health and wellness.
PrEP is about self-determination. It’s a tool you can choose to make your sex life safer and take control of your sexual health and wellness. PrEP is designed for people who are HIV-negative and vulnerable to getting HIV. PrEP can be prescribed for gay and bisexual men, for heterosexual men and women, for transgender individuals, and for genderqueer or nonbinary people. PrEP can also help people who inject drugs stay HIV-negative.
You might consider PrEP if:
- You don’t always use condoms (external or internal) when you have anal or vaginal intercourse.
- "Always” means every time, not sometimes.
- You don’t always ask your partner(s) to wear a condom.
- You have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection in the last six months.
- You’re unsure of the HIV status of your sexual partners.
- You're in a relationship with an HIV-positive partner who may or may not be on HIV treatment.
- You are a person who injects drugs, or you’re in a sexual relationship with an injection drug user.
- You’re HIV-negative and interested in PrEP.
What is PrEP?
Have questions? We're here to help.
PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. It is the use of anti-HIV medications before an exposure to reduce the risk of HIV infection.
When taken as prescribed, PrEP creates a protective barrier around your immune cells so HIV cannot use these cells to reproduce itself and infect you. If exposed to HIV, this protection forces the virus to die because it has nothing to sustain itself in your body.
PrEP is currently prescribed as a once daily pill. When taken as prescribed, clinical studies show PrEP to be more than 90% effective; and can provide up to 99% protection. The daily regimen must be taken consecutively for 21 days to reach maximum protection, and then continued each day to keep this level of protection.
PrEP is safe and is typically well-tolerated. The most common side effects recorded with PrEP use are upset stomach, headaches, and weight loss; however, many people experience no side effects at all. If you do, they usually happen in the first few weeks of starting as your body gets use to the medication and are known to be temporary. No long-term side effects have been observed when taking PrEP. Also, there are no side effects caused by stopping PrEP.
PrEP is covered by most insurance plans, which includes medical plans through your employer, the marketplace, Medicaid, and Medicare. Also, there is payment assistance available for any gaps in coverage you may experience.
While PrEP does not protect against other STDs or unwanted pregnancy, it can be paired with condoms and other prevention strategies for additional protection. It is also important to remember an HIV/STD screening is required every three months while on PrEP, and our clinic will provide treatment if you contract an STD while in care with us.