HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a once-a-day oral medication that reduces the risk of HIV infection from sexual contact by 99% and from injectable drug use by 74% if used correctly. Currently, there are two FDA-approved medications, sold under the brand names Truvada® and Descovy®, approved to prevent HIV transmission.
Truvada® contains two drugs, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine. Descovy® contains two drugs, emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide. Both are effective medications that can prevent transmission of HIV from an HIV-positive individual to an HIV-negative individual. Consult your doctor to determine which drug is best for you.
Is PrEP Treatment Right For You?
PrEP is recommended to prevent HIV for individuals at risk of getting the virus from sex or injection drug use and for populations including men who have sex with men, transgender people, and heterosexual people with an HIV-positive partner or an injection partner with HIV.
The federal guidelines recommend that PrEP be considered for people who are HIV-negative, who have had anal or vaginal intercourse in the last 6 months and either:
PrEP is also recommended for people who inject drugs and have an injection partner with HIV, or share needles, syringes, or other equipment to inject drugs.
This treatment therapy should also be considered for people who have been prescribed non-occupational post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) and report continued risk behavior or have used multiple courses of PEP.
If you have a partner with HIV and are considering getting pregnant, PrEP may be an option to help protect you and your baby from getting HIV while you try to get pregnant, during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
Who Should Not Take PrEP?
Because PrEP involves daily medication and regular visits to a health care provider, it may not be right for everyone. PrEP may also cause some side effects, like nausea, in some people. If you have any symptoms while taking PrEP that become severe, you should see a healthcare provider right away.
Descovy® for PrEP has not yet been studied for HIV prevention for receptive vaginal intercourse. We recommend you consult your insurance company to determine your exact coverage. For more information about PrEP, you can visit the CDC website .
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