PrEP: Using PrEP to Prevent HIV
What is Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)?
PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis.
Pre = Before
Exposure = Coming into contact with HIV
Prophylaxis = Treatment to prevent an infection from happening
PrEP involves taking medicine that can protect you from getting HIV. It is a proven strategy where HIV negative people take an anti-HIV medicine before coming into contact with HIV to reduce their risk of becoming infected. The medications work to prevent HIV from establishing infection in the body. To use PrEP, people who are HIV negative take a pill every day to protect their bodies from HIV. The medicine is called Truvada and is only available by prescription from a medical provider.
PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection through sex as well as among people who inject drugs. It does not protect against other sexually transmitted diseases (STD) or pregnancy. It is not a cure for HIV.
PrEP is different from Post Exposure Prophylaxis. Post-exposure prophylaxis also known as PEP is an HIV prevention strategy where HIV-negative individuals take HIV medications after coming into contact with HIV to reduce their risk of becoming infected. PEP is a month-long course of drugs and must be started within 72 hours after possible exposure.
Is PrEP for you?
PrEP may be useful for people who are at risk for HIV infection through sex and/ or injection drug use. You must be okay with the idea of taking a pill daily to prevent HIV. PrEP may be a good choice for you if:
- You have a partner who is HIV positive
- You do not know your partner’s HIV status
- You share needles to inject drugs
- Your partner uses injection drugs
- You don’t use condoms every time you have sex
- You have had an STD in the past 6 months. Please note: PrEP protects against HIV but not other STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). Some people choose to use condoms with PrEP for extra protection.
Talk with your medical provider to discuss PrEP.
Complete this short screening survey and then contact your medical provider.
How do I take PrEP?
- Meet with a medical provider to discuss your risks
- Get Tested for HIV
- If you are negative, you'll Receive 90 day prescription for Truvada
- Truvada for PrEP is taken once a day, at the same time each day. You can take it with or without food. In order to benefit from this medication, adherence is critical.
- After 90 days, return to be tested again before receiving a prescription refill.
How to Access PrEP
California PrEP Provider Directory
PrEP Facts from SF AIDS Foundation
Financial Support For Meds
Is PrEP Right for Me? (The Stigma Project)
PrEP Fact Sheet (CA Dept. of Public Health)
PrEP for Women (The Well Project)