PrEP | Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis
For HIV Prevention
What is PrEP?
Pre-exposure prophylaxis, often called PrEP, is a pill that is taken daily to prevent the spread of HIV from sex or injection drug use. PrEP can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body. It is highly effective when taken as prescribed by your healthcare provider.
This medicine does not completely eliminate the risk of getting HIV infection, so the use of condoms during sex is encouraged. PrEP also does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis.
PrEP is for people who don’t have HIV, but are at a higher risk of getting HIV.
PrEP may benefit you if you are HIV-negative and ANY of the following apply to you:
You have had anal or vaginal sex in the past 6 months and
- Have a sexual partner with HIV (especially if the partner has an unknown or detectable viral load).
- Have not consistently used a condom or
- Have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the past six months.
You inject drugs and
- Have an injection partner with HIV, or
- Share needles, syringes, or other equipment to inject drugs (for example, cookers).
You have been prescribed PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) and
- Report continued risk behavior, or
- Have used multiple courses or PEP.
If you have a partner with HIV and are considering getting pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider about PrEP if you are not already taking it.
You will need to follow-up with you provider every three months after you start taking PrEP.
How Effective Is PrEP?
PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by an estimated 99%, when taken as prescribed.
PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV by at least 74% among individuals who inject drugs, when taken as prescribed.
PrEP is far less effective when it is not taken as prescribed.
How Long Do You Have To Take PrEP Before It Is Highly Effective?
Receptive anal sex (bottoming) maximum protection at about 7 days of daily use.
Vaginal sex maximum protection at about 21 days of daily use.
Injection drug use maximum protection at about 21 days of daily use.
Insertive anal sex (topping) – no data is available.
Insertive vaginal sex – no data is available.
- Highly effective
- Reduces risk of getting HIV from sex by up to 99%
- Reduces risk of getting HIV from drug injection by more than 70%
- When used with condoms, your risk of getting HIV can be even lower
- Side effects may include:
Side effects are rare, but still possible. Talk with your healthcare provider if you have any symptoms while taking PrEP that become severe or don’t go away.
How can you get help to pay for PrEP?
Most insurance plans and Medicaid cover PrEP. Check with your insurance company to see if PrEP is covered by your plan. If your insurance does not cover PrEP or if you do not have insurance coverage, there are programs that can help you with the costs.
- The Ready, Set, PrEP program makes PrEP medications available to individuals who do not have insurance that covers prescription drugs.
- The Gilead program makes PrEP medications available through either a co-pay coupon program or if you do not have insurance that covers prescription drugs, you may be eligible to receive your medication free of charge through the Advancing Access Patience Assistance Program.
- Consider enrolling in an insurance marketplace, PrEP assistance program, or your state’s Medicaid plan, if you are eligible for it.
- Learn more about paying for PrEP at www.PrEPcost.org.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC HIV. https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/prep/index.html. February 2021.