What is PrEP?
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is when people at very high risk for HIV take HIV medicines daily to lower their chances of getting infected. PrEP can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body. It is highly effective for preventing HIV if used as prescribed, but it is much less effective when not taken consistently.
Why take PrEP?
Daily PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%. Among people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by more than 70%. Your risk of getting HIV from sex can be even lower if you combine PrEP with condoms and other prevention methods.
Is PrEP a Vaccine?
No. PrEP does not work the same way as a vaccine. A vaccine teaches your body to fight off infection for several years. For PrEP, you take a pill every day by mouth. The pill that was shown to be safe and to help block HIV infection is called “Truvada” (pronounced tru-vá-duh). Truvada is a combination of two drugs (tenofovir and emtricitabine). If you take PrEP daily, the presence of the medicine in your bloodstream can often stop HIV from taking hold and spreading in your body. If you do not take PrEP every day, there may not be enough medicine in your bloodstream to block the virus.
Is PrEP Safe?
PrEP can cause side effects like nausea in some people, but these generally subside over time. No serious side effects have been observed, and these side effects aren’t life-threatening. If you are taking PrEP, tell your healthcare provider about any side effects that are severe or do not go away.
How well does PrEP work?
Studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90% when used consistently. Among people who inject drugs, PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV by more than 70% when used consistently.
Am I at risk?
Everyone who engages in unprotected sex is at risk. To learn more about how to protect yourself and get information tailored to meet your needs, CLICK HERE to utilize the CDC HIV Risk Reduction Tool.
Where can I find additional PrEP-related resources?
Visit the CDC PrEP resources page for infographics, videos, fact sheets, reports, and other educational materials about PrEP, including resources for healthcare providers. CLICK HERE
Are there places located near me where I can find more information about PrEP?
All St. Hope Foundation Health Centers have providers with expertise in providing PrEP treatment. Even more, the SHF pharmacies offer PrEP at 340B discounted prices. We have social workers to provide counseling to patients around PrEP.