If someone asked you how to prevent HIV, the first thing that would probably pop into your head is condoms, but that’s not the only form of protection against HIV. PrEP - which stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis - is a daily pill that you can take to can help prevent HIV. Sexually active gay and bisexual men, transgender women, and heterosexual men and women, as well as people who inject drugs, can all lower their risk of testing positive for HIV when taking PrEP daily. Think of PrEP almost like birth control pills, except instead of preventing pregnancy, it reduces the risk for HIV.
PrEP is for those who don’t have HIV, and are at a higher risk for getting HIV. If used correctly, PrEP can reduce your chances of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%. If you chose to go on the medication, you will need to get tested for HIV every 3 months and communicate well with your doctor or nurse about any side effects or symptoms you may be having.
Don’t Toss Those Condoms Just Yet!
It is still important to use condoms even while taking PrEP. PrEP does not prevent against other sexually transmitted diseases or unplanned pregnancy. The use of condoms AND PrEP can help you stay even safer. Remember that when you think of not using them at all!
You can get PrEP at your nearest Planned Parenthood location!
PrEP is offered at Planned Parenthood health centers in our area. You can make an appointment to get a prescription for PrEP and ask our health care professionals any questions you have about PrEP or safe sex practices. PrEP is covered by most insurances. If you don’t have insurance plans, including Medi-Cal. If you don’t have insurance, Planned Parenthood can direct you to a medication assistance program that can provide PrEP for free or low cost.
Gilead, the manufacturer of PrEP (known as TRUVADA), offers financial support for some patients who are either uninsured or whose health insurance company does not cover PrEP therapy. Call us or make an apointment online to learn more, and visit Gilead’s Advancing Access website.
Making an appointment is the first step to living a happier, safer life. It’s time we take care of our health and know what’s available to us! Make an appointment with Planned Parenthood today by calling 1-800-230-PLAN or finding your nearest health center online.