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What is PrEP?

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (or PrEP) is a daily medication that can help prevent the transmission of HIV. When used daily, PrEP is very effective in preventing HIV from sex or injection drug use. (Prophylaxis is a medical term that means to prevent the spread of disease before it occurs.)

There are two options for PrEP:  Truvada and Descovy

Truvada is a combination of two different medications (emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate). In use for the treatment of HIV since 2004, the FDA also approved Truvada for PrEP in 2012. PrEP is approved for everyone, including:

  • Gay and bisexual cis men
  • Trans women
  • Trans men
  • Heterosexuals
  • Cis women
  • People who inject drugs

Descovy is a combination of two different medications (emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide). In 2019, the FDA approved Descovy as a second option for PrEP for:

  • Gay & bisexual cis men
  • Trans women

Studies have shown that when taken daily as prescribed, PrEP prevents HIV transmission by about 99%.

PrEP does not protect against other STDs, like gonorrhea, chlamydia, or syphilis, and it does not prevent pregnancy.

Who should use PrEP?

PrEP is recommended for individuals who do not have HIV and are at risk of acquiring HIV from either sex or injection drug use. Other risk factors can include:           

  • Having a sexual partner (past or present) that has HIV
  • Using condoms inconsistently
  • Having been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the past six months

For people who use injection drugs, PrEP is for you if you:

  • Have an injection partner with HIV
  • Share needles, syringes, or other equipment to inject drugs

See our checklist to be on PrEP.

How do I use PrEP?

PrEP must be taken every day to work correctly. While on PrEP, you must see a health care provider every 3 months for HIV/STD testing and, occasionally, other required monitoring bloodwork.

Is PrEP safe?

In some people, PrEP can cause side effects like nausea but side effects usually go away after a few weeks. No serious sides effects have been reported.

If you are a Salt Lake County Health Department PrEP client and have side effects that last longer than a few weeks after starting PrEP, please contact the clinic.

Where can I get PrEP?

PrEP is available by prescription from the Salt Lake County Health Department STD Clinic. You can make a PrEP consultation appointment by calling 385-468-4242.

How much does PrEP cost?

The STD Clinic does not accept health insurance for clinic visits, so all clinic fees and laboratory costs will be out-of-pocket.

Lab costs are included in the fee for each clinic visit, and our staff will discuss the cost of each clinic visit when you make your first appointment.

The cost of the medication itself is covered by most health insurance plans. Please check with your health insurance plan to verify your pharmacy benefits and to discuss how much of the cost of PrEP may be covered.

STD Clinic staff can also assist you with enrolling in programs that may help cover the cost of the prescription medication.

If you do not have insurance, we can refer you to other providers who specifically prescribe PrEP to uninsured clients.

Salt Lake County Health Department
General Information  
Phone: (385) 468-4100