Over the past several years, major medical advancements have made HIV more manageable – but also more preventable. There is now a daily medication that can help reduce the risk of getting HIV by blocking the virus.
Want to find out if PrEP is for you? Here are a few things you should know.
- What is PrEP?
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is a prescription medication that consists of two antiretroviral drugs, which block the HIV virus. When taken every day, PrEP greatly reduces the risk of getting HIV.
- How much does PrEP cost?
The cost varies depending on your insurance provider, but many plans currently include coverage for PrEP. In the Buffalo area, Evergreen Health can help determine the cost of a monthly prescription based on insurance coverage. Additionally, most people who see Evergreen’s providers and use Evergreen’s pharmacy to obtain PrEP pay nothing out of pocket.
- Is PrEP safe?
Many people who take PrEP report few to no significant side effects, but every person is different. Some people experience minor side effects when taking PrEP, but these usually subside and aren’t life-threatening. Be sure to tell your health care provider about any side effects you may experience while taking PrEP.
- Who should take PrEP?
PrEP is for people who do not currently have HIV, but may be at risk for contracting the virus. For instance, people who regularly have sex with HIV-positive partners and individuals who use shared needles to inject drugs may consider taking PrEP to decrease their risk and take control of their health
- Is it convenient?
Dosage is a single pill and should be taken daily to be most effective. If a person on PrEP misses one dose, it’s okay. They can take the next dose as planned. However, if two or more doses are missed while the person is sexually active, it’s important to check in with a health care provider to make sure you’re still HIV-negative. PrEP also involves regular visits to a health care provider to make sure that the medication is working as intended.
- What if someone is in a relationship with someone who’s HIV-positive? How does PrEP help?
PrEP helps prevent these people from contracting the virus. PrEP can also help prevent HIV-negative individuals from getting the infection while trying to get pregnant with their HIV-positive partners.
- How can someone get PrEP?
Evergreen Health is the Buffalo area’s local PrEP specialist. You can visit Evergreen Health for PrEP services and keep seeing your primary doctor for the rest of your health needs. Because PrEP can only be prescribed by a health care provider, talking to a doctor – whether your regular physician or a PrEP specialist at Evergreen Health - is the best way to determine if PrEP is the right option for you.
To learn more about this option, call the Evergreen Health PrEP helpline at 716-541-0676. If you are at risk of contracting HIV, there are options that will help ease your mind. Visit www.takeprep.com to take control of your health by learning more about PrEP and HIV prevention.