Taken every day, PrEP can help keep you free from HIV.
What is PrEP?
PrEP, or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, is a new therapy that, in combination with safe-sex practices, can reduce the risk of acquiring HIV.
How does PrEP work?
People on PrEP take a once-a-day pill to reduce their risk of HIV transmission. The pill is a combination of two medications, tenofovir and emtricitabine, that can often stop HIV virus from establishing itself and spreading in your body.
Am I a good candidate for PrEP?
Ask about PrEP for HIV prevention if:
- You are sexually active and your partner is HIV positive
- You and you HIV+ partner wish to conceive
- You have multiple sex partners
- You do not know the HIV status of your sex partner(s)
- You use intravenous (IV) drugs
- You engage in sex that involves exchange of commodities (housing, drugs, money, etc.)
- You infrequently use condoms
The PrEP process: What to expect
- Initial evaluation and interview: You should come to your visit prepared to discuss your last HIV test as well as any risk factors you may have. You will also have a blood draw to assess your kidney and liver function, HIV status, and screen for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). We will also collect a urine pregnancy test, if applicable. All testing is done in our office, and results are available in two to three business days.
- Medication initiation: If your test results show that you are a good candidate for PrEP, your provider will write you a prescription for PrEP. It is essential that you remember to take your medication every day.
- Follow-up: You will need to schedule a visit with your provider every three months for follow-up testing and prescription renewal.
Is PrEP safe? What are the side effects?
PrEP is safe and the medication used for PrEP has been used to treat people with HIV since 2004.
PrEP may cause mild side effects, including upset stomach, headache, and weight loss, especially at the beginning of treatment. Your provider can help if side effects bother you.
What does PrEP cost?
Most insurance programs, including Medicaid, cover PrEP. There is assistance available to help you pay co-pays and deductibles at the pharmacy. If you do not have health insurance, let us help you explore your options.
For more information contact us at PrEP@Chattanoogacares.org.