Are you at risk for HIV exposure?
Planned Parenthood can help you significantly reduce your chance of getting HIV with PrEP and PEP treatments. PrEP and PEP are different methods for different types of HIV exposure. Read more about them below, or make an appointment with Planned Parenthood online today to learn your current HIV status and explore whether PrEP or PEP are important next steps to protect your health.
PrEP and PEP are meant for different kinds of HIV exposure and work differently. Both work to stop HIV exposure from getting you sick. Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood can help you with PrEP or PEP treatment today.
What is PrEP and PEP?
- PrEP is a way to help prevent HIV by taking a pill every day. It reduces your risk of getting infected. When PrEP is combined with condoms and other preventative methods it works even better. PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. The word "prophylaxis" means to prevent or control. PrEP contains two medicines that interfere with HIV's ability to grow and take hold in the body if a person is exposed to HIV.
- PEP stands for post-exposure prophylaxis. That means it works to prevent HIV after you’ve been exposed. PEP is a series of pills you can start taking very soon after you’ve been exposed to HIV that lowers your chances of getting it. But you have to start PEP within 72 hours, or 3 days, after you were exposed to HIV, or it won’t work. The sooner you start, the better it works — every hour matters. You take PEP 1-2 times a day for at least 28 days. The medicines used in PEP are called antiretroviral medications (ART). These medicines work by stopping HIV from spreading through your body. Watch this quick video to learn who PEP is for, and how it works.
What else should I know about PrEP?
- PrEP may not start working right away. Talk to your doctor or nurse about when it might start working for you.
- You will need an HIV test before starting PrEP and every 3 months.
- You will need other tests before you start and every 3 to 6 months while you are on PrEP.
- You will need to schedule a follow-up appointment so we can check how you are doing on PrEP. You should return at any time if you have problems while taking it.
- You will receive advice about ways to help you take PrEP every day so that it has the best chance to help you avoid HIV.
- You should be aware of some of the symptoms of new HIV infection: fever or flu-like illness, swollen glands, a rash, a sore throat, mouth sores, nausea and diarrhea, and muscle pain. If you have these symptoms, you should see your doctor or nurse.
What else should I know about PEP?
- PEP is for people who may have been exposed to HIV in the last 3 days. PEP might be right for you if:
You had sex with someone who may have HIV and didn’t use a condom, or the condom broke
You were sexually assaulted
You shared needles or works (like cotton, cookers, or water) with someone who may have HIV
- If you were exposed to HIV in the last 3 days and want PEP, see a nurse or doctor or go to the emergency room immediately. Timing is really important. You must start PEP as soon as you can after being exposed to HIV for it to work.
- PEP is for emergencies. It can’t take the place of proven, ongoing ways to prevent HIV — like using condoms, taking PrEP (a daily pill that lowers your chances of getting HIV), and not sharing needles or works. If you know you may be exposed to HIV often (like if you have a sexual partner or partners who may be HIV-positive), talk to your nurse or doctor about PrEP.
How do I pay for PrEP and PEP?
- They are covered by many insurance programs. If you do not have insurance, Planned Parenthood can direct you to a medication assistance program that can provide PrEP and PEP for free.
Where can I go for more information?
Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood Health Centers offer:
- Information on PrEP and PEP
- Healthcare services including screening and testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Supplies like condoms and lubrication
- Prescriptions for medication