Protect yourself! – Prevent HIV with 1 pill a day!
What is PrEP?
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (ore PrEP) is when people at very high risk for HIV take a HIV medication daily to lower their chances of getting infected. When taken as prescribed, it reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%, and with IV drug users, it decreases the risk by more than 70%, however it does not protect from STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis.
PrEP is not a new concept. It has been around for many ears. Taking a malaria drug before traveling to countries where there is malaria is an example of pre-exposure prophylaxis. With HIV, if an antiviral medication used to treat HIV is given prior to exposure, then changes of the HIV virus becomes very low.
Who should take PrEP?
PrEP is an excellent choice for partners who are sexually active with a known HIV person. PrEP is even used for those who have new or existing partners and HIV status is unknown or never tested. Other times It is suggested for for those who can’t or don’t use male or female condoms regularly, those who do not know HIV status of their partners, have multiple sex partners, use drugs, or have been diagnosed with STIs in the past.
How does PrEP prevent HIV?
Truvada is the only approved antiviral medication for PrEP. It is just one pill a day. When taken correctly, it prevents the reproduction of HIV if exposure occurs. This prevents the virus from establishing itself in your body.
Does my insurance cover PrEP?
Most Medicaid plans cover PrEP. Depending on the insurance, it may also be covered under private plans. If insurance does not cover, our providers can help find assistance programs to help with the cost of treatment.
This sounds easy. How do I get PrEP?
First, you must see a health care provider as Truvada requires a prescription. Your provider will test you for HIV to ensure you do not already have the virus. We will also test you for other STDs. Having an STD however, does not mean you cannot receive PrEP. Afterwards, your provider will prescribe three months of PrEP at a time. Every three months you will return for follow up visit, ensure compliance of taking medication every day (this is the only way PrEP will work), and retest for HIV and STDs on the three month visits. We will also provide counseling regarding any other needs or questions you may have.
Anything else to remember?
PrEP does not protect against STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, or herpes infection. PrEP does not protect against pregnancy.
For More information:
- Call to make an appointment at Ocala Infectious Disease and Wound Center 352-401-7552
- Check out these other resources: CDC fact sheet “What is PreEP?” https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/library/factsheets/prep101-consumer-info.pdf
- CDC – HIV Risk reduction tool – https://wwwn.cdc.gov/hivrisk/
- Project Ready, Set, PrEP! http://www.ready-set-prep.com/
- Gilead Copay Program – http://www.gilead.com/responsibility/us-patient-access/truvada%20for%20prep%20medication%20assistance%20program