PrEP (short for pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a pill that can lower the risk of getting HIV by over 90%. Truvada is the brand name for the medication used as PrEP. For many years, HIV positive people have been using Truvada, along with other medications, to fight off the virus and stay healthy. Now it is being used to help keep people HIV negative.
How does it work?
PrEP is a pill that you take once a day. It may take a few weeks to achieve maximum protection (one week for men and three weeks for women). As long as you keep taking PrEP, you can lower the risk of getting HIV by over 90%.
How well does it work?
For HIV negative people who take it every day, PrEP can lower the risk of getting HIV by more than 90%.
Is it safe?
PrEP, or Truvada, has been shown to be very safe. However, like with any medication there may be minor side effects. Some people get an upset stomach when they first start taking it.
How do I get it?
To get PrEP you have to see a doctor and be given a prescription. While you are using PrEP, you will need to check in with your doctor every three months. Click here to find a provider that prescribes PrEP.
How much does it cost?
The cost of PrEP includes the cost of the medication, the medical appointments and the lab tests. There are a number of ways to afford PrEP through your private insurance or Medicaid. Support is also available for those who are uninsured. For example, both Gilead—the company that makes Truvada— and The New York State Department of Health offer programs to help cover the costs of PrEP if you are eligible.
Is PrEP for me?
Most adults can safely use PrEP, but a doctor will need to determine if there is any reason why you should not take it. PrEP is only for people who are HIV negative.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend using condoms along with the PrEP medication for best protection. Using condoms is important to protect you from STDs.
For more FAQs and additional resources, click here.
Source: New York State Department of Health