What Is PrEP And How Can It Help Me?
PrEP HIV pills | blue pills | hands | doctor

Read everything you need to know about PrEP for HIV.

There are many ways to prevent the spread of HIV, like getting tested to know your status or wearing condoms to protect yourself and your partner. However, there is one other way to armor up against the virus: PrEP.

What is PrEP and what are the benefits of it?

Short for pre-exposure prophylaxis, PrEP is made to reduce the chances of HIV infection for those who aren’t yet HIV positive. If you’re already living an HIV positive life, PrEP can’t stop HIV from spreading or help you manage your HIV – only prescribed HIV treatment can.

 PrEP is made for those who…

  • Engage in shared drug injection activities, where needles are used
  • Have unprotected sex with multiple partners
  • Maintain sexual relations with partner(s) with HIV
  • Have a history of having an STD in the past 6 months

For PrEP to work, it must be taken every day. When taken correctly, PrEP…

  • Reduces the risk of spreading HIV through sex by more than 90%, and 70% from injecting drugs
  • Lowers the risk of HIV transmission, if used along with condoms and dental dams
  • For anal sex, PrEP protects you from HIV after 7 days of daily use
  • For vaginal sex, PrEP protects you after 21 days of daily use

PrEP shouldn’t be used in place of condoms or dental dams during oral, anal or vaginal sex. While PrEP may reduce your risk of exposure to HIV, it can’t protect you from other STDs, like chlamydia or gonorrhea, among others.

Where can I get PrEP?

If you think PrEP may be right for you, talk to a healthcare provider about getting a prescription for it. PrEP isn’t available over the counter; it must be prescribed to you. Remember: PrEP is for those who are HIV-negative, so you may be asked by a healthcare provider to get tested for HIV first to make sure PrEP will work for you. 

PEP, which is like PrEP but functions as post exposure prophylaxis, is available in some emergency rooms for those who need urgent access to it. If you’ve had unprotected sex and think you’ve been exposed to HIV, this would be a situation where you need urgent access to PEP. If taken within 72 hours of exposure, PEP can stop HIV from spreading. 

Does PrEP cost anything? 

PrEP is more accessible than ever. Many health insurance plans cover the full cost of PrEP medication and there are also state PrEP assistance programs to help you get it. Additionally, Ready, Set, PrEP is a national program that makes PrEP medication available for free.

For more information on PrEP, visit TakeControlHIV.com.

Thriving with community

Thriving with community

by | Mar 17, 2023 | HIV,Individual Health | 0 Comments

Tim’m West – Educator, community builder and lifelong HIV advocate “When I tested positive at 26, I didn’t imagine 50. So, turning 50 was a spiritual moment for me. I...

Breaking down barriers: HIV care for trans women

Breaking down barriers: HIV care for trans women

by | Mar 10, 2023 | HIV,Individual Health | 0 Comments

6 tips to finding a healthcare provider Often excluded or wrongly identified in HIV research, we want to set the stage for transgender women to break down barriers to...

Don’t be risky while getting frisky

Don’t be risky while getting frisky

by | Feb 9, 2023 | HIV,Individual Health | 0 Comments

Five steps for safer sex while HIV+ If you’re HIV positive, you can still have safe sex – it just takes a few precautions. Reduce the risk of transmitting HIV and other...

Lady being diagnosed

Just diagnosed?

by | Feb 9, 2023 | HIV,Individual Health | 0 Comments

Four tips for managing mental health after finding out you’re HIV positive Confusion, anger, depression, and shock are normal emotions to experience following a...


I’m HIV positive. Now what?

by | Dec 29, 2022 | HIV,Individual Health | 0 Comments

There's no one-size-fits-all regimen for HIV – know your options Recently diagnosed with HIV? Living with a positive status and interested in changing your treatment...

Paired Hands

Starting a family with HIV

by | Dec 15, 2022 | HIV,Individual Health | 0 Comments

Can I have a child If I am HIV positive? Ready to start a family? Whether it is you or your partner with HIV, know there are ways to have a safe pregnancy. It just...

World AIDS Day

Make a difference this World AIDS Day

by | Dec 1, 2022 | HIV,Individual Health | 0 Comments

Overcoming inequalities and ending stigmas together For the last 34 years, each December 1, people worldwide unite to honor those who lost their lives to AIDS-related...


Can I hook up with HIV?

by | Oct 31, 2022 | HIV,Individual Health | 0 Comments

How to enjoy casual sex while protecting your partner Living with HIV doesn’t have to end your sex life, and you don’t have to wait for an undetectable status or to be...

HIV Ribbon

HIV testing: What should I know?

by | Oct 28, 2022 | HIV,Individual Health | 0 Comments

Learn about the three types of HIV tests, their accuracy and how to understand results Before World AIDS Day, Thursday, December 1, learn about HIV testing, its...