Effectiveness of PrEP in reducing HIV risk for HIV-negative individuals who take the pills every day as directed*
(*) If a dose is missed, the level of protection might decrease.
What is PrEP?
PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is s a daily pill that can help you stay HIV-negative. The medicines in PrEP can protect you before you might be exposed to HIV.
How Does PrEP Stop HIV?
PrEP contains the same medicines that people with HIV use to stay healthy. When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection. When taken daily, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV. Studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken daily. Among people who inject drugs, PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV by at least 74% when taken daily. PrEP is much less effective if it is not taken consistently.
Should I Consider Taking PrEP?
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is a way for people who do not have HIV but who are at very high risk of getting HIV to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. Studies have shown that PrEP works for sexually-active gay and bisexual men, heterosexual women and men, and injection drug users, and is also likely to benefit transgender women. PrEP can help protect anyone whose partner has HIV.
How do I take PrEP?
PrEP can be prescribed only by a health care provider, so talk to yours to find out if PrEP is the right HIV prevention strategy for you. You must take PrEP daily for it to work. Also, you must take an HIV test before beginning PrEP to be sure you don’t already have HIV and every 3 months while you’re taking it, so you’ll have to visit your health care provider for regular follow-ups. Two medications, sold under the brand names Truvada® and Descovy® are approved for daily use as PrEP. Studies have shown that PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV if it is used as prescribed. PrEP is much less effective when it is not taken consistently.
Can I take it only when I have sex?
No. According to the CDC you must take PrEP every day to keep enough medicine in your body to protect you from HIV. If a daily dose is missed, PrEP is still effective but the level of HIV protection may decrease. PrEP works the best if you take it correctly and consistently. PrEP on Demand is still in the process of getting approved for MSM.
Is PrEP safe?
PrEP can cause side effects like nausea in some people, but these generally subside over time. No serious side effects have been observed, and these side effects aren’t life threatening. If you are taking PrEP, tell your health care provider about any side effects that are severe or do not go away.
Do I still need to use condoms?
You should not stop using condoms because you are taking PrEP. PrEP doesn’t give you any protection against other STDs, like gonorrhea and chlamydia. If used the right way every time you have sex, condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV and some STDs you can get through body fluids, like gonorrhea and chlamydia. However, they provide less protection against STDs spread through skin-to-skin contact, like human papillomavirus or HPV (genital warts), genital herpes, and syphilis.
60 seconds web survey to help you determine if PrEP is right for you.
Valuable Testimonies that Could be You.
Marcus is just starting out on his own. His own apartment. Interested in music. Getting out on the dating circuit. Here, Marcus talks about not always using a condom and why PrEP may be right for him because he wonders if he can trust what the other guy says about his status.
Alejandro has been with his partner for several years. They’re a mixed status couple … one HIV-negative, the other positive. Here, Alejandro describes some of the things he and his partner thought about when they were deciding whether or not to use PrEP.
Jonathan recently broke up. He’s been a little depressed but he’s also chatting online and dating quite a bit. Condoms aren’t always used. Listen to Jonathan talk about how PrEP has helped ease his mind as he’s working through this new stage in his life.
PSAs: Latinos on PrEP
¡Listo! (Ready!) PrEP Campaign by AltaMed
Learn more about PrEP
- HIV.gov – Ready, Set, PrEP: A program that provides PrEP medications at no cost to individuals who qualify. (hiv.gov/federal-response/ending-the-hiv-epidemic/prep-program)
- HIV.gov – HHS Online Enrollment for PrEP (www.getyourprep.com)
- HIV.gov – Ready, Set, PrEP Pharmacies (hiv.gov/federal-response/ending-the-hiv-epidemic/prep-pharmacies)
- HIV.gov – Ready, Set, PrEP Downloadable Resources (www.hiv.gov/federal-response/ending-the-hiv-epidemic/prep-program-resources)
- hiv.gov – PrEP information page (hiv.gov/hiv-basics/hiv-prevention/using-hiv-medication-to-reduce-risk/pre-exposure-prophylaxis)
- AIDSinfoNet – Reliable, Up-To-Date Treatment Information (aidsinfonet.org/fact_sheets/view/160)
- AVAC – Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention (avac.org/ht/d/sp/i/262/pid/262)
- Avert – AVERTing HIV and AIDS (avert.org/pre-exposure-prophylaxis.htm)
- CDC – Questions and Answers from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov/hiv/prevention/research/prep)
- My PrEP Experience – Real stories from real people who adopted PrEP for prevention in the US (myprepexperience.blogspot.com)
- PrEP Facts – San Francisco AIDS Foundation PrEP information in visual format for MSM and heterosexual individuals, with an option for Spanish (prepfacts.org)
- PrEP Watch – Interactive webpage with information and resources on gaining access to PrEP (prepwatch.org)
- PrEParing for HIV – An Epidemic Interventions Initiative by the University of California
- Project Inform – Videos, publications and resources (projectinform.com/prep)
- SFHIV – City and County of San Francisco Department of Public Health’s PrEP information page (sfhiv.org/resources/prep)
- Talk PrEP – AIDS Action Committee’s new PrEP campaign encouraging everyone to Do It Daily (talkprep.org)
- CDC – Downloadable PDF from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/prepguidelines2014.pdf)
- start.truvada.com – Information from the makers of Truvada for PrEP for providers, consumers and educators