PrEP is a once-daily pill that greatly reduces your risk of HIV infection. There are different drug combinations for PrEP. Your healthcare provider will help you choose the right one for you.
PrEP can prevent HIV infection by stopping the virus from infecting your body if you are exposed.
Who should consider taking PrEP?
PrEP is for anyone who is HIV negative and wants to stay that way. You may particularly benefit from PrEP if you:
- have sexual or needle-sharing partners who are HIV positive with a detectable or unknown viral load
- were diagnosed with an STI in the past three months
- don’t use condoms all the time
- are interested in adding an additional HIV prevention tool to your toolbox
How can I pay for PrEP?
PrEP medications and the necessary follow-up appointments are covered by most insurances. If you do not have insurance or have trouble paying for PrEP, there are financial assistance options available to help pay for the medication and lab costs.
A monthly medication prescription is necessary for PrEP. If you are uninsured or cannot afford your medication costs, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 773.388.1600 ext. 5120 to discuss financial assistance options available to you.
Regular labs are required when taking PrEP. Quest Diagnostics processes the labs at all Howard Brown sites. If you have a copay due with your labs, you will receive a bill directly from Quest. If you have trouble paying for your PrEP labs or are concerned about the cost, contact email@example.com or 773.388.1600 ext. 7260 to discuss financial assistance options available to you.
What can I expect during my first visit?
Expect your first appointment to last an hour to an hour and a half.
- If you scheduled an appointment, arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time to complete the check-in process.
Be prepared to have your blood drawn and provide samples for STI screening.
- Do not urinate one hour prior to the appointment.
- If needed, vaccines may be administered or recommended.
During your visit, your healthcare provider will talk to you about your medical and sexual health history. You will be asked about medications you take and any possible symptoms of acute HIV infection.
- Have a list of your current medications or bring them with you.
You will receive information at your appointment about PrEP and other safer sex options.
If you are uninsured or cannot afford PrEP, you will meet with a navigator to discuss financial assistance options available to you.
Are there side effects?
Most people who take PrEP do not report any side effects. For those who do, the most common side effects are nausea, upset stomach, headaches and fatigue. These symptoms often go away after a few weeks of taking PrEP.
If these side effects bother you, speak to your healthcare provider. Your provider can talk to you about ways to treat the side effects you may be experiencing.
Your provider will monitor your lab results for other PrEP-related side effects.
How can I stay on PrEP?
PrEP works best if you take it at the same time every day. If you forget to take your pill, take it as soon as you remember.
If you realize you forgot to take a pill and it is almost time for your next pill, just take one pill and resume your normal schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
If you keep missing scheduled doses, ask your provider about ways to stay on track.
PrEP Tip: Carry a pill with you
To help you remember, carry a pill in a pill box or a sealed container. This way, if you miss a dose you will have a pill on hand.
Visit your healthcare provider every three months for medication refills and checkups. A checkup will include HIV screening and other tests as needed.
Your provider will talk to you about:
- Side effects and what to do if they are bothering you
- How often you are taking your PrEP
- Your sex life, sexual health, and other ways to keep yourself healthy
Your provider will also screen you for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as needed.
Tell your provider right away if you experience fevers, fatigue, swollen glands or a rash – these may be early signs of an HIV infection.
Can I take PrEP if I use hormonal birth control or if I am pregnant?
PrEP does not interfere with hormonal birth control, including emergency contraception. PrEP may be an option if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to get pregnant. Ask your provider for more information.
Can I take PrEP if I’m on hormones?
PrEP does not interfere with hormone therapy and is an effective prevention option for transgender and gender nonconforming people.
If you have questions or want more information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773.388.1600 ext. 5120