LET'S TALK ABOUT PrEP
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is a medication taken by people who are HIV-Negative (one pill, once a day) to significantly reduce the chances of getting HIV. Truvada is the medication approved for PrEP. It must be taken consistently for it to work best. PrEP does not protect against any other STDs, so it’s still a good idea to use condoms. PrEP is almost 99% effective at preventing HIV on its own.
Who’s PrEP For?
PrEP is for people who are concerned about getting HIV. However, it is most beneficial for certain people. Here are some questions to help you determine if you can benefit from PrEP:
Are you in an ongoing sexual relationship with a person who is living with HIV?
Do you sometimes not use condoms during sex?
Are you unsure of the HIV status of people you’ve had sex with?
Do you have more than one sexual partner?
Do you sometimes share injection drug equipment?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, PrEP can help! A medical provider can help you determine if you are healthy enough to take PrEP, and will need to monitor your health after prescribing it. Talk to the PrEP Navigator at HIHAF to find out more about how PrEP can benefit you.
Where can I get PrEP?
PrEP is only available by prescription, so you’ll need to see a doctor and pick up your medication at a pharmacy. Further assistance with insurance and cost assistance programs may be available, so speak to the PrEP Navigator at HIHAF to know what your options are.
Why should I consider PrEP?
PrEP is a powerful prevention tool that can protect from getting HIV. If you are concerned about HIV, then you’ll want to consider all prevention options. If you decide to start taking PrEP, you should be committed to it. While considering PrEP, people often ask about side effects. Side effects associated with Truvada include upset stomach, headache, nausea, and dizziness. People don’t usually have them, and those who experience these side effects don’t typically experience them for long. A very small number of people do experience some kidney side effects, but those effects reversed once stopping PrEP. These are factors to consider when weighing out your options. While you take PrEP you should have regular bloodwork done and be routinely tested for HIV and STDs.
When can I start taking PrEP and when should I stop?
You can start as soon as your doctor prescribes it for you! It will take at least seven days of consistent use to reach the maximum level of protection, but may take up to twenty days of consistent use. So, it’s important to take all doses as recommended by your doctor. If you want to stop taking PrEP, talk to your doctor about it first. Reasons people discontinue taking PrEP include:
Beginning a monogamous relationship with another HIV-Negative person
Not consistently taking medication (support may be available, so talk with your doctor or the PrEP Navigator at HIHAF before discontinuing)
Experiencing uncomfortable side effects that last longer than a couple of months
How do I get started?
Talk to the PrEP Navigator at HIHAF today. We’ll guide you through the first few steps, set you up for success with your doctor visit and ensure proper counseling along the way. We’re here for you.