Although HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment has made leaps and bounds throughout the last decade, the CDC reports that 1.2 million people in the United States live with HIV today and 14 percent don’t even know they’re infected. On top of all this, the CDC estimates 50,000 people are infected each year.
That’s why in addition to providing condoms, STD testing (including rapid HIV tests) and counseling, we’re providing another tool so you can have safer sex. Our health centers in San Diego, Riverside and Imperial counties now offer prescriptions for pre- and post-HIV exposure designed to reduce the risk and spread of HIV. Click here to make an appointment.
If you’ve been exposed to HIV or are interested in PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis, click here for more information. If you’re interested in PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, here’s what you need to know about it:
What is PrEP?
PrEP is an antiretroviral medication in the form of a daily pill that allows HIV-negative people to reduce their chances of HIV infection. However, this does NOT mean all HIV-negative people should be running out to get it.
Who should take PrEP?
HIV-negative people who are at high risk of getting HIV. Here are a few ways to determine if you’re at high risk:
• You’re in an ongoing relationship with an HIV-positive partner.
• You’re a homosexual or bisexual man who is NOT in a mutually monogamous relationship (meaning you or your partner have more than one sexual partner) who has had anal sex without a condom and has been diagnosed with an STD in the last six months.
• You’re a heterosexual man or woman who does not use condoms with sexual partners of unknown HIV status who are at substantial risk for HIV infection such as someone who uses intravenous drugs.
• You’ve injected illicit drugs in the last six months, and shared equipment or been in drug treatment for injection-drug use in the past six months.
How does PrEP work?
PrEP, which was thoroughly tested and approved by the FDA in 2012, prevents and controls the spread of HIV before a person is exposed to the virus. It must be taken at least 7 days in advance of potential exposure. With PrEP, the risk of HIV infection is up to 92 percent lower for people who take it consistently. PrEP may not work if you skip doses.
How can I get PrEP?
Come see us! Simply schedule an appointment online or over the phone to receive your rapid HIV test and to find out if you’re a good candidate for PrEP.
How do I pay for PrEP?
If you’re insured, ask your health care provider about possible costs or co-payments. The medication is covered by Medi-Cal, Medicare and most private insurance plans in California.
If you’re uninsured, then you may be eligible to receive the medication at low- or no-cost to you thanks to the Gilead Assistance Program.
Just remember, PrEP is not a cure. Currently, there is no known cure for HIV or AIDS. While PrEP is a powerful tool, it is not meant to replace condoms, nor does it protect against other STDs, so wrap it up and stay safe folks!