Preventing HIV Infection with PrEP
What is PrEP?
Pre-exposure prophylaxis, also known as PrEP, is a medication used to prevent HIV infection among individuals at high risk for the HIV virus.
Who is PrEP for?
PrEP is for people who are HIV-negative, but are at very high risk of contracting the disease from sex or injection drug use. According to federal guidelines, PrEP should be considered for those in an ongoing sexual relationship with an HIV-positive partner, as well as anyone who is not in a mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who recently tested HIV-negative, and is a:
- Gay or bisexual man who has had anal sex without using a condom or been diagnosed with an STD in the past six months.
- Heterosexual man or woman who does not regularly use condoms during sex with partners of unknown HIV status who are at substantial risk of HIV infection (for example, people who inject drugs or women who have bisexual male partners), or have been diagnosed with an STD in the past six months.
If you are worried about your risk of contracting HIV, talk to an ACCESS provider to see if this is the right HIV prevention method for you.
How does PrEP prevent HIV infection?
PrEP is most effective when taken daily. If you take PrEP daily, the presence of the medicine in your bloodstream can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading in your body.
How effective is PrEP?
PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken as prescribed. Although there is less information about how effective PrEP is among people who inject drugs, we do know that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV by at least 74% when taken as prescribed.
If you're interested in taking PrEP to prevent HIV infection, you must commit to taking the medication every day and seeing your ACCESS care provider for follow-up every three months.
Does PrEP cure HIV/AIDS?
No, it does not cure HIV/AIDS. However, use of PrEP in HIV prevention is considered to be one of the most significant milestones in the battle against HIV/AIDS. It is important to remember that PrEP is most effective when combined with other forms of protection against HIV, such as using condoms and avoiding needles for drug use.
How Can We Help?
For more information on PrEP and other HIV services that ACCESS provides, call 312.526.2660 for more information.
As of February 1, 2023