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Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

What is PrEP?


PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is medicine people at risk for HIV take to prevent getting HIV from sex or injection drug use. PrEP can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body.

Currently, there are two FDA-approved daily oral medications for PrEP. A long-acting injectable form of PrEP has also been approved by the FDA.

Why Take PrEP?

PrEP is highly effective at preventing HIV when taken as indicated.

PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken as prescribed. Among people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by at least 74% when taken as prescribed. PrEP is much less effective when it isn't taken consistently.

Is PrEP Right for You?

PrEP may benefit you if you test negative for HIV and

  • you have had anal or vaginal sex in the past 6 months, and you:

  • have a sexual partner with HIV (especially if the partner has an unknown or detectable viral load),

  • have not consistently used a condom, or

  • have been diagnosed with an STD in the past 6 months.



  • you inject drugs and

  • have an injection partner with HIV, or

  • share needles, syringes, or other injection equipment.



  • you’ve been prescribed PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) and you

    • report continued risk behavior or

    • have used multiple courses of PEP


If you are a woman and have a partner with HIV and are considering getting pregnant, talk to your doctor about PrEP. PrEP may be an option to help protect you and your baby from getting HIV while you try to get pregnant, during pregnancy, or while breastfeeding.


What Drugs Are Approved for PrEP?


There are two oral medications approved for daily use as PrEP. They are combinations of two anti-HIV drugs in a single pill:


A long-acting injectable form of PrEP, Apretude®Exit Disclaimer, has also been approved by the FDA. It is administered by a health care provider every two months instead of daily oral pills.


Is PrEP Safe?


PrEP is safe. No significant health effects have been seen in people who are HIV-negative and have taken PrEP for up to 5 years.

Some people taking PrEP may have side effects, like nausea, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, and stomach pain. These side effects are usually not serious and go away over time. If you are taking PrEP, tell your health care provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

And be aware: PrEP protects you against HIV but not against other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or other types of infections. Combining PrEP with condoms will reduce your risk of getting other STIs.

Source which is an official U.S. Government website managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and supported by the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund

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