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PrEP, which stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, is a safe, daily pill that helps prevent HIV infection. A person who is HIV-negative and at risk for HIV can take the pill once a day to prevent HIV infection. 

How Does it Work?

The medication used for PrEP is called Truvada. It keeps HIV from growing and taking hold in your body if you come in contact with the virus. You must take PrEP every day for it to be effective. If you take it every day, it is more than 90% effective at preventing HIV, and is even more effective when used with condoms and other prevention methods. PrEP only protects against HIV; it does not protect against any other STDs.

How do I know if PrEP is right for me?

PrEP is an option if you are at high-risk for HIV. PrEP may be right for you if:

  • Your partner is HIV-positive
  • You and/or your partner have other partners and don’t know if they have HIV
  • You have had an STD in the past 6 months
  • You have used injection drugs in the past 6 months and shared needles

If you think you may be at risk for HIV, talk with your health care provider about whether PrEP is right for you.
 

How Can I Start PrEP?

PrEP is available through a prescription at any Planned Parenthood of Southern New England health center. Make an appointment at Planned Parenthood to talk to a health care provider to determine if PrEP is right for you. If you and your health care provider decide that PrEP is a good option for you, you will need an HIV test before you start PrEP, along with a few other lab tests, including tests for STDs and Hepatitis B.

When you first start taking PrEP, it can take 1-3 weeks to be effective. Remember, PrEP does not work well if you skip doses, so be sure to take it every day. While you’re taking PrEP, you’ll need to visit your health care provider every 3 months for follow-up and testing.

How Do I Pay for PrEP?

PrEP is covered by most insurance programs. If you do not have insurance, Planned Parenthood can direct you to medication assistance programs that can provide PrEP for free or low cost.

For patients paying out of pocket, we offer a sliding-fee scale, meaning other services, such as lab tests and office visits, could be free or low cost depending on your income, household size and other factors.

Does PrEP have side effects?

PrEP can cause side effects in some people, like nausea, diarrhea, or headaches. Many people do not experience any side effects, and if they do, they usually go away within 2-4 weeks.

Remember:

  • PrEP is a daily pill that can help keep you from contracting HIV
  • PrEP is safe and highly effective
  • Talk to your health care provider to find out if PrEP is right for you.

For more information and to learn if PrEP if right for you, make an appointment online, or by calling 800-230-PLAN (7526).