PrEP is short for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis and is a medication regimen to reduce the likelihood of contracting HIV. A once daily pill can be up to 99% effective at preventing HIV. Currently, the only medication that has been FDA-approved to be used as PrEP is Truvada®, which combines emtricitabine and tenofovir. PrEP requires a prescription as well as special health considerations.
PRE = BEFORE
EXPOSURE = COMING INTO CONTACT WITH HIV
PROPHYLAXIS = TREATMENT TO PREVENT AN INFECTION
PrEP does NOT protect against other sexually transmitted infections and is NOT a vaccine.
PrEP is different than PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis. PEP is a sort of morning-after pill for HIV and must be taken within 72 hours of possible HIV exposure. If someone who is HIV negative and not already taking PrEP experiences sexual violence or has sex without a condom with someone who might be living with HIV, they should reach out to a doctor or local AIDS Service Organization about starting PEP. PEP is a 30 day prescription of powerful anti-HIV medications and should only be taken when necessary.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS PrEP?
Studies show that when taken everyday, Truvada® can be between 96%-99% effective at preventing the HIV virus from taking hold within your body. However, it is critical that the pill is taken regularly every day. Skipping days will significantly decrease the effectiveness of Truvada®.
According to the iPrex study:
– For people who take 7 PrEP pills per week, their estimated level of protection is 99%.
– For people who take 4 PrEP pills per week, their estimated level of protection is 96%.
– For people who take 2 PrEP pills per week, their estimated level of protection is 76%.
WHO SHOULD TAKE PrEP?
Click here to read the CDC Guidelines or answer the questions below.
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, PrEP may be right for you:
> Do you ever have sex without a condom?
> Do you have more than one sex partner?
> Do you have a sex partner who is HIV-positive?
> Have any of your partners recently been treated for a STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease)?
> Have you used PEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) more than once in the last year?
> Have you exchanged sex for money, drugs or alcohol, housing, or other needs?
> Do any of your recent partners use, or have used, injection drugs?
> Have any of your recent partners been in prison?
> Have any of your recent partners forced you to have sex?
WHO IS RECOMMENDING PrEP?
In 2014, The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention published a Clinical Practice Guideline that outlined the benefits of PrEP.
Read the Clinical Practice Guideline.
In May 2015, Columbus Public Health launched a citywide call-to-action for healthcare providers to discuss, screen, administer, or refer high-risk patients for PrEP.
Read the Public Health Alert and watch the press conference.
In July 2015, Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County launched a countywide call-to-action geared towards providers in order to expedite discussion, screening, and administration of PrEP to high-risk patients.
Read the call-to-action.
Project Inform, an organization that fights the HIV and hepatitis C epidemics by assuring the development of effective treatments and a cure; supporting individuals to make informed choices about their health; advocating for quality, affordable health care; and promoting medical strategies that prevent new infections.
See our FAQ for more information.