PrEP / PEP
What is PrEP?
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is the most effective method of HIV prevention for people at risk of getting HIV from sex and/or injection drug use. Currently, PrEP comes in the form of oral medications or a bimonthly injection. Oral medications can be taken either daily, or on demand, also known as the 2-1-1 method. The 2-1-1 method is recommended for those that have anal sex only.
How does PrEP work?
PrEP works by preventing HIV from entering the body’s white blood cells (T cells), blocking the viral replication process. Through this method, HIV cannot take hold in the body. When taking PrEP, an HIV-negative person can greatly reduce their risk of acquiring HIV if they are exposed to the virus. While PrEP is highly effective against HIV, PrEP does not provide protection against other STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis.
Is PrEP right for me?
PrEP can be an additional option for people who are at risk of getting HIV through anal or vaginal sex, injection drug use, and/or who have sexual partners that inject drugs. If you can answer YES to any of the following, PrEP might be right for you.
Are you HIV-negative and:
- have a sexual partner that is living with HIV, or a partner with an unknown HIV status
- use condoms only sometimes or never
- have been diagnosed with an STD in the past 6 months
- inject drugs or have sexual partners that inject drugs
Does insurance cover PrEP?
PrEP is covered by most insurance plans and state Medicaid programs, making them either low-cost or free for most people – even those who are uninsured. There are also several assistance programs for qualifying individuals that help cover the cost of medication, labs, and clinical visits.
Speak with a PrEP Navigator today to learn more.
PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis), is emergency medication that HIV-negative individuals can take in case of accidental exposure to HIV – such as a condom breaking. Just like PrEP, PEP has to be prescribed by a medical provider. PEP can be accessed from your primary care provider, through an STI clinic such as Planned Parenthood, or through any emergency room. PEP must be taken within 72 hours (3 days) after a possible exposure to HIV. DO NOT HESITATE to start PEP.