Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a once-a-day pill that reduces your risk of contracting HIV. Several studies have shown that when taken as directed, PrEP can dramatically reduce the risk of infection.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q Who should take PrEP?+
PrEP is recommended for those who are considered “high risk” for contracting HIV. This includes those who:
- Have a partner who is HIV positive (serodiscordant or mixed couples)
- Have had sex or shared needles with unknown HIV status in the past 12 months
- Have had sex under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the last 12 months
- Have been diagnosed with an STI in the last 12 months
Q Is PrEP safe?+
According to several studies, taking PrEP daily is safe and well tolerated. About 1 in 10 people in the PrEP studies reported having a headache, stomach pain, or weight loss when they started taking the pill. In most people, these side effects improved or disappeared after taking the pill for a few weeks. A small number of people had a slight decrease in kidney function that returned to normal when the drug was stopped. Small losses in bone density (thickness) have been observed in people taking the pill. These changes have not been associated with increased fractures in these studies.
Q How do I know PrEP is right for me?+
Speaking to a PrEP navigator can help you make a decision about whether or not PrEP is the best HIV prevention method for you. They can talk you through your options and help you set up an appointment with a provider if you decide you do want to give PrEP a try. Call (619) 906-4660 to speak to a PrEP navigator today.
Q How do I talk to my medical provider about PrEP?+
If you think PrEP is a good option for you, the next step is to make an appointment with your provider to discuss the medication. Prepare to have an open and honest conversation with your provider about your sexual health and the reasons why you think you should be prescribed PrEP.
Here is a list of considerations to discuss with your provider:
- Create a medical history for your provider that includes any illnesses or concerns you have had in the past, as well as a list of your current medications (including supplements, herbs, etc.)
- Don’t be shy. Give your provider all the details about your life that could be important to your health. Don’t worry about being judged. If your sexual health is a difficult topic to discuss, let your provider know when you start the conversation.
- Asking questions, such as: What is required of me to be prescribed PrEP? How long will it take until I can be prescribed PrEP? What is expected of me after I have been prescribed PrEP?
- Take notes during your visit so you can remember what your provider said.
After the appointment:
- Review your notes or any information provided by your provider.
- Consider your options. Your provider can give you a lot of information, now it is up to you to make the right decision for yourself.
- Call your health care provider if you have further questions.
- Schedule follow-up exams or appointments that your medical provider has requested.
- Get your results if you were tested at your appointment and ask your health care provider to review them with you.
Q How can I pay for PrEP?+
PrEP is covered by many private insurance plans and by Medi-Cal. If you don’t have insurance or need help with costs, call (619) 906-4660 and ask about drug assistance programs that help pay for PrEP. Gilead also has a copayment assistance program and can also help cover the cost of drugs for those who qualify. You can use assistance programs even if you aren’t an American citizen.