Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is a way to protect yourself from acquiring HIV.
PrEP is for those who are at risk of getting HIV-1 and are HIV negative before starting. It consists of taking a medication called Truvada (tenofovir/emtricitabine) one time a day, every day.
Central Florida has a high rate of HIV. In 2015, 738 of every 100,000 people were living with HIV in Orange county! You can see HIV rates here.
People who are at risk to get HIV and would benefit from PrEP are:
- Those who have sex with someone who has HIV
- Those who have sex in a geographical area or network where HIV is more common and have additional risk factors such as:
- Have or have had a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as syphilis, gonorrhea, or chlamydia
- Ever have sex without condoms
- Exchange sex for drugs, food, money, or place to live
- Use recreational drugs or are dependent on alcohol
- Have ever been in prison or jail
- Have sexual partners whose HIV status is unknown
PrEP is just one part of a comprehensive management plan to prevent an HIV infection and must be combined with safe sex practices.
The most common side effects of the medication are headaches (7%), abdominal pain (4%), and weight loss (3%).
Patient Financial Assistance
Gilead, the maker of Truvada, provides a copay card with a $7,200 benefit per year for those with commercial insurance. Most people with insurance should be able to obtain the medication essentially free.
Truvada is covered on Medicaid and Medicare, but Medicare patients will most likely have a copay.
You can use the Gilead Advancing Access website for more information on financial assistance obtaining Truvada for PrEP.
Another website for financial assistance with prescription medications is the Partnership for Prescription Assistance.