PrEP - Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

PrEP - Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

“PrEP” stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. It is the newest and most promising biomedical HIV prevention intervention to date. For people who are HIV-negative and at risk for HIV infection, PrEP is a way to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. If you take PrEP and are exposed to HIV, these medicines can work to keep the virus from taking hold in your body.

With an HIV prevention rate of 92-99%, PreP is a game-changing prevention tool with the potential to dramatically impact rates of new HIV infection and possibly even bring an end to HIV.

If you opt to start PrEP, you must be able to take the drug every day and to return to your health care provider every 3 months for a repeat HIV test, bloodwork, prescription refills, and follow-up care. 

Some people in clinical studies of PrEP had early side effects such as an upset stomach or loss of appetite, but these were mild and usually went away within the first month. Some people also had a mild headache. No serious side effects were observed. Alert your healthcare provider if these or other symptoms become severe or do not go away.

Getting Started on PrEP

To get started on PrEP, talk to your Mazzoni Center provider, or contact our Navigation specialists: Navigation Contact Form

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Most insurances cover PrEP. Those who do not have insurance coverage may qualify for assistance. There are also assistance programs for those who have high insurance copays.

PeP (Post-exposure to HIV medication)

If you need to prevent HIV after a single high-risk event of potential HIV exposure—such as sex without a condom, needle-sharing injection drug use, or sexual assault—there is another option called PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) which you must begin within 72 hours of exposure. 

Learn more about PEP