What is PrEP?
PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. The PrEP medication is called Truvada, an antiretroviral medication used commonly in people living with HIV.
The word “prophylaxis” means to prevent or control the spread of an infection or disease. The goal of PrEP is to prevent HIV infection from taking hold if you are exposed to the virus. This is done by taking one pill every day. These are some of the same medicines used to keep the virus under control in people who are already living with HIV. —CDC
When should someone consider taking PrEP as a HIV prevention measure?
The CDC recommends PrEP for people who are HIV negative and at substantial risk for HIV.
“For sexual transmission, this includes anyone who is in an ongoing relationship with an HIV-positive partner. It also includes anyone who
- is not in a mutually monogamous* relationship with a partner who recently tested HIV-negative, and
- is a
- gay or bisexual man who has had anal sex without a condom or been diagnosed with an STD in the past 6 months; or
- heterosexual man or woman who does not regularly use condoms during sex with partners of unknown HIV status who are at substantial risk of HIV infection (e.g., people who inject drugs or have bisexual male partners).
For people who inject drugs, this includes those who have injected illicit drugs in the past 6 months and who have shared injection equipment or been in drug treatment for injection drug use in the past 6 months.
For heterosexual couples where one partner has HIV and the other does not, PrEP is one of several options to protect the uninfected partner during conception and pregnancy.
People who use PrEP must be able to take the drug every day and return to their health care provider every 3 months for a repeat HIV test, prescription refills, and follow-up.
* Mutually monogamous means that you and your partner only have sex with each other and do not have sex outside the relationship.” —CDC
Speaking to your healthcare provider about starting PrEP
If you are interested in starting PrEP, remember that this medication must be taken every day for it to work effectively. You must also see your primary care doctor quarterly for routine laboratory testing for HIV.
The CDC has compiled a list of physicians who prescribe PrEP in your area:
Want more information about PrEP?
Call AIDS Response Effort, Inc. if you are interested in starting PrEP but would like more information. We are here to help! Please call our Education and Outreach Staff at 540-536-2971 or email at email@example.com.