What is PrEP?

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

Pre-Exposure = Before you’re exposed to a disease

Prophylaxis = An action taken to lower your risk of getting a disease

PrEP is a blue pill that you take every day to protect yourself from getting HIV. The PrEP pill is made of two anti-HIV drugs, or antiretrovirals. PrEP was approved for HIV prevention by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012 under the brand name Truvada.1

To use PrEP, you need to:

1. Ask your doctor for PrEP
2. Take your PrEP pill every day
3. Get tested for HIV every three months
4. Repeat! Keep taking your PrEP to protect yourself!

PrEP doesn’t protect against other sexually transmitted diseases, but condoms can.

Who is PrEP for?

PrEP could be for anyone who wants to think ahead and decrease their risk of getting HIV. The CDC says that PrEP may be right for you if you’re a man who has sex with men who also has any one of the following below.

• An HIV-positive sexual partner
• A partner whose HIV status you don’t know
• Multiple sexual partners
• Anal sex with inconsistent or no condom use
• A recent sexually transmitted disease (STD)
• Shared needles to inject drugs
• Engaged in sex work
• Shared injection equipment

If you decide to take PrEP now, that wouldn’t mean you would need to take PrEP for your whole life. PrEP is recommended for periods of greater sexual risk, and these periods can be different lengths for different people. You can read more about the CDC’s guidelines here: PrEP Guidelines


How does PrEP work?

PrEP blocks HIV from taking hold and spreading in your body. If you don’t take PrEP every day, there may not be enough of it in your blood to block the virus.

Right now, PrEP for HIV prevention is only approved as a daily oral pill. Scientists are working on other forms of PrEP like a shot that would last for three months and gels for the penis and rectum.

Taking PrEP also means getting tested for HIV and important side effects every three months. If you become infected with HIV, it’s important to stop PrEP and set up an HIV treatment plan right away.

Note: PrEP is not Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PEP. PEP is a one-month treatment plan you make with your doctor if you know you were recently exposed to HIV. Learn more about PEP here:  PEP Information

Is PrEP for You?

Only you can decide if you should start taking PrEP, but a decision like this isn’t easy. If you’re thinking about taking PrEP, you may be worried about its side effects, stigma, sharing your HIV status, and barriers to health care. The benefits of using PrEP include protecting yourself from getting HIV, always knowing your HIV status, and more. Read up on the risks and benefits of using PrEP here.

PrEP Concerns PrEP Benefits

Interested in PrEP?

Learn more here about where to get it and how to pay for it.

Get PrEP

“I think [PrEP is] a step in the right direction.
It’s probably one of the best things they have come up with thus far.”—HIV-negative, African American Male