In addition to using prevention strategies for all STDs, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is one HIV prevention strategy for you to consider to help reduce your risk of contracting HIV.
PrEP does not protect you against other STDs, like gonorrhea, chlamydia, or syphilis, and it does not prevent pregnancy.
What is PrEP?
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis is a method used to help prevent HIV infection in high-risk individuals. Prophylaxis is a medical term that means to use safe practices in order to prevent the spread of diseases before they occur.
The brand name of the PrEP drug is Truvada. It is a combination of two drugs: Tenofovir and Emtricitabine. The FDA approved Truvada in 2004 for use with HIV treatment, and in 2012 as PrEP treatment.
Consistent PrEP use has been shown to greatly reduce the risk of HIV infection.
Who should use PrEP?
Anyone can receive or pass on HIV at any time throughout their life, though high-risk groups for HIV infection include people with multiple sexual partners and men who have sex with men.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that about 50,000 people are newly infected with HIV each year, and two-thirds (67%) of those people are in a high-risk group.
How do I use PrEP?
You must be HIV negative and have no signs or symptoms of a recent HIV infection in order to qualify for use.
PrEP needs to be taken every day to work correctly. While on PrEP, you must follow up with a health care provider every 3 months for HIV/STD testing and other monitoring bloodwork.
See our checklist to be on PrEP.
Where can I get PrEP?
While the health department is not able to prescribe PrEP, our STD staff is happy to advise you on your suitability and to help you talk to your health care provider about PrEP.
We can also make a referral to Clinic 1A at the University of Utah, or you may contact Clinic 1A directly at 801-585-2031; the physicians there routinely discuss PrEP and will prescribe it to individuals who qualify.
If I'm on PrEP, can I stop using condoms?
PrEP is not a replacement for safer sex practices, which could include choosing less-risky behaviors, wearing condoms, practicing monogamy, or other personal choices.
PrEP does not offer any protection against other STDs, including syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.
How much does PrEP cost?
PrEP is not cheap. Without insurance, out-of-pocket costs can be as high as $13,000 per year.
If you have private healthcare insurance, you can usually expect to pay your normal co-pay associated with brand-name drugs. This varies from plan to plan.
Truvada's maker, Gilead, does offer a prescription assistance program .
Note that you, or your health insurance, will also have to pay for the office visits and bloodwork associated with taking PrEP.
Will my insurance cover PrEP?
I don't have insurance. How do I afford PrEP?
Where can I go for more information about PrEP?
The CDC page about PrEP is a good place to start.
You can also discuss PrEP with your health care provider, or feel free to make an appointment at the STD Clinic. While we cannot prescribe PrEP directly, we are happy to advise you on your suitability for PrEP, help you talk to your health care provider, or make a referral to Clinic 1A at the University of Utah .