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What’s PrEP

PrEP makes preventing HIV easy. But, what is PrEP, and who is it for?  

What is PrEP?  

PrEP is a daily pill. It is very effective at preventing HIV infection. At the moment, there are two PrEP medications: Truvada and Descovy 

What does PrEP stand for?  

PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. In other words, its something you take to prevent HIV before you are exposed to it.  

Who is PrEP for?  

PrEP is for people who do not have HIV but are at higher risk for getting it. You are at higher risk for getting HIV if you:  

  • Have unprotected sex (sex without condoms)  
  • Have a sexual partner who has unprotected sex  
  • Have a sexual partner with HIV 
  • Inject drugs and share equipment (like needles)  
  • Have a sexual partner who injects drugs  
  • Have been diagnosed with an STI (sexually transmitted infection)  
  • Have taken PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) multiple times 
  • Do sex work (exchange money or things for sex)  

PrEP is also for women who want to get pregnant but want to prevent getting HIV from their HIV- positive partner.  

Can youth take PrEP?  

PrEP is approved for youth who are at least 75 pounds and who are at higher risk for getting HIV.  

How effective is PrEP?  

When PrEP is taken as directed, it reduces your risk of contracting HIV from sex by about 99%.  

PrEP also reduces the risk of contracting HIV from injection drug use by about 74%.  

Does PrEP prevent against other STIs?  

PrEP does not prevent other STIs like gonorrhea and chlamydia. Consider using condoms alongside PrEP to prevent other STIs if you are able.  

How do I get PrEP? 

PrEP is often available at Tribal clinics, local health clinics, local health departments, doctors’ offices, or Planned Parenthood health centers. Call or visit any of these to see if you can get PrEP. If you have any trouble, check out Please PrEP Me.  

How much does PrEP cost?  

Most insurance plans cover PrEP. Check with your insurance to see if PrEP is covered on your plan. If you don’t have health insurance, you can still get help paying for PrEP. Visit Please PrEP Me to find resources that will cover the cost of PrEP.  

Also, Gilead, the company that makes PrEP, and some patient advocacy groups, like the Patient Advocate Foundation, might be able to help you with certain medical expenses.  

For more information on HIV and PrEP, check out these resources:  

Author: Stephanie Paz is a Tigua Indian of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from The University of Texas at El Paso and is working towards a Master of Public Health in Health Behavior and Health Promotion from New Mexico State University.

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