Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is an anti-viral medication (an oral pill) used to prevent HIV infection. It can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body. When taken daily, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV from sex or injection drug use. There are two medications approved for use as PrEP: Truvada® and Descovy®.
- Truvada® is for all people at risk through sex or injection drug use.
- Descovy® is for people at risk through sex, except for people assigned female at birth who are at risk of getting HIV from vaginal sex.
Studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99%. Click on the video below to find out more about PrEP and how it can reduce your risk of getting HIV.
PrEP can be prescribed only by a health care provider and you have to take it 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.
The cost of PrEP is covered by many health insurance plans. It can also be covered by commercial medication assistance programs for people with limited income and no medical insurance. Some PrEP providers can assist in getting PrEP for free.
To find a PrEP provider in your area, enter your zip code at PrEPlocator.org. You can also go to the CDC PrEP locator (which also provides locations for other HIV and STI services) at https://locator.hiv.gov/map/. If you live in Pennsylvania, you can open/download a pdf resource page from the Pennsylvania Department of Health website that also lists providers specifically in the commonwealth.