What is HIV PrEP - Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis
PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. The word “prophylaxis” means to prevent or control the spread of an infection or disease. The goal of PrEP is to prevent HIV infection if you are exposed to the virus. This is done by taking one pill every day. The pill has some of the same medicines used to keep the virus under control in people who are already living with HIV.
Why is PrEP important?
HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is a growing epidemic in the United States. There are approximately 50,000 new HIV infections in the country each year. Studies have shown that for patients who have taken PrEP consistently and followed safer sex practices, the risk of HIV infection was up to 92% lower than for those who did not take PrEP.
Who should take PrEP?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that patients with the following risks speak to their doctor or a PrEP Specialist about PrEP. Talk to your doctor if you are HIV-negative and:
- are in an ongoing relationship with an HIV-positive partner; OR,
- sometimes have sex without a condom, especially with a partner at risk for HIV (for example, is an injection drug user or has sex with other people in addition to you); OR,
- have recently been told by a health care professional that you had a sexually transmitted disease; OR,
- have injected illicit drugs and shared equipment in the past six months.
What else is required of me?
Before you begin taking PrEP, you must agree to:
- Take the medicine every day.
- Visit your health care provider or PrEP Specialist every three months.
- Be tested regularly for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Why should I choose Arnot Health for my PrEP treatments?
The following medical care specialists are on staff at each of our HIV Primary Care clinics:
- Certified Nurse Practitioner – provides clinical care including prescription and monitoring of medications
- PrEP Specialist – provides education and support at each appointment
- Phlebotomist – administers convenient, confidential testing
Confidential, Supportive Environment
Arnot Health’s expertly trained medical professionals will help you make the best medical decisions for your specific circumstances. Our team provides emotional support and excellent medical care that you need, within a comforting and confidential setting.
With three area locations in Elmira, Ithaca, and Bath, Arnot Health is here to help you, when and where you need it.
What do I do next?
- Talk to your physician or Arnot Health PrEP Specialist about PrEP and whether it is the right choice for you.
- Check with your health insurance provider to see if PrEP treatments are covered by your insurance plan. Your Arnot Health PrEP Specialist can also refer you to a payment assistance program if you qualify.
- Still have questions? For more information about PrEP, visit any of the following online healthcare resources