Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)
PrEP is medication you take every day to reduce your risk of HIV infection. It consists of two medications (emtricitabine and tenofovir DF) in one pill also known as Truvada. PrEP is a part of a comprehensive HIV prevention strategy.
PrEP is recommended for anyone who has a potential risk of exposure to HIV in a variety of situations. Anybody requesting PrEP will be assessed by a health care provider about risk and options for PrEP referral.
The medication has very few side effects, which can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches and/or and fatigue. These side effects are rare.
Most doctors and nurse practitioners in the community can prescribe PrEP. You can check with your primary care provider to see if they can provide you with a prescription for this medication.
If you do not have a primary care provider or this provider is unable to prescribe it to you, you may present to Gay Zone or the Sexual Health Clinic to get a referral to see a provider who will prescribe PrEP to you.
Before starting PrEP, there are a few things to consider:
- You will be taking medication daily. PrEP is most effective when taken as prescribed.
- You will be assessed by a healthcare provider. This will include checking to make sure you are HIV and hepatitis B negative, checking your kidney function, as well as a general STI screen.
- A referral will be sent to a specialist. Wait times to start PrEP may vary.
- The medication is covered under some insurance plans. It is important to check what your insurance plan covers.
You will need to see your health care provider every 3 months for HIV and kidney function testing to avoid any health complications from the medication. STI assessment and testing will be offered at all visits, and treatment will be given as needed. Kidney function testing is done to see how well your kidneys are working. In a small percentage of people, PrEP medication can affect how efficiently your kidneys filter your blood, which could put you at risk for complications.