How does PrEP work?
PrEP is a daily pill taken by people who are HIV-negative to protect against HIV. It works by stopping the virus from multiplying in your body. To be effective, PrEP must be taken for some time before exposure to HIV.
Does PrEP work after HIV exposure?
No. To be effective, PrEP must be taken for some time BEFORE a possible exposure to HIV. PrEP is short for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, a different medication called PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) may be an option within the first 72 hours of possible exposure.
How can I start PrEP?
Speak with your health care provider if you think PrEP may be right for you. PrEP requires a prescription. Before starting PrEP, and at least every 3 months while taking it, you will need to test negative for HIV.
How long does PrEP take to work?
According to the CDC:
• For receptive anal sex, PrEP pills reach maximum protection from HIV at about 7 days of daily use.
• For receptive vaginal sex and injection drug use, PrEP pills reach maximum protection at about 21 days of daily use.
How do I pay for PrEP?
PrEP is covered by most insurance plans as well as Medicaid and Medicare. If you do not have insurance, or if you have insurance but need help with out-of-pocket costs, there are financial assistance programs that may be able to help. One of these is the Ready, Set, PrEP program, which makes PrEP medication available at no cost to those who qualify.
Is PrEP safe?
PrEP is safe, but some people experience side effects like diarrhea, nausea, headache, fatigue, and stomach pain. These side effects usually go away over time. Speak with your health care provider about any severe or lingering side effects.
If I take PrEP, do I still need to use condoms?
While highly effective at protecting against HIV, PrEP does not protect against other sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms are a highly effective method of preventing HIV transmission, transmission of many other STDs, as well as pregnancy. To be effective, condoms must be used correctly and consistently.
Can I take PrEP during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
Yes, PrEP may be an option to help prevent you and your baby from getting HIV while you try to get pregnant, during pregnancy, or while breastfeeding. If you have a partner with HIV and are considering getting pregnant, speak with your health care provider about your options.