PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a way for people to prevent getting HIV before they become exposed to the virus. Using PrEP currently requires taking a prescribed antiretroviral (ARV) medication, called Truvada, daily. PrEP is not a cure for HIV. It does not protect against any other sexually transmitted infections.
How does it work?
Truvada was first approved by the FDA to treat people with HIV in 2004. When taken by people without HIV, it prevents the virus from making copies of itself in your body. Taking Truvada as PrEP has been very effective in preventing people from getting HIV.
How do I get PrEP?
Talk to your health provider about starting PrEP. Before being prescribed Truvada, your doctor will run blood tests to see if you are a good candidate tests. You might have to tell your doctor about PrEP. He or she can visit http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/prepguidelines2014.pdf or call the Clinicians PrEPline at 855-448-7737.
If you are uninsured and a man who has sex with men or a transgender person, you can call to enroll in a clinical trial at the LA LGBT Center (323) 993-7423 or at the Oasis Clinic (323) 563-5802. You can also look into getting PreP from a free or low cost clinic.
Will I experience side effects?
As with any medication, a small number of people taking Truvada experience side effects. You may experience the following side effects:
- Upset stomach
- Loss of appetite
The side effects normally fade within a month and most report no side effects at all.
Where can I learn more?
Attend one of Being Alive’s weekly PrEP/PEP workshops, a safe environment where you can find out more in with others. Visit our Education page for more details and call us at (323) 874-4322 to register. You can also visit projectinform.org/prep
I think I may have been exposed to HIV! Now what do I do?
If you think you had a high-risk exposure to HIV in the last 72 hours, you should consider PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis). According to the LA County (Department of Public Health high-risk exposure includes having sex or sharing needles with a known HIV-positive partner or a partner of unknown status and one of the following events:
- Unprotected receptive anal sex or with a failed condom
- Unprotected insertive anal sex or with a failed condom
- Unprotected receptive vaginal intercourse or with a failed condom
- Unprotected insertive vaginal intercourse or with a failed condom
- Sharing injection drug paraphernalia
Where can I get PEP?
You can get PEP from the ER, urgent care clinics, or HIV clinics. The LGBT Center also offers PEP. You can call them at (323) 860-5855. People who do not have insurance can receive PEP for free here.
To find out about additional locations call the LA County PEP Warmline at (213) 351-7699.
Where can I learn more?
Attend one of Being Alive’s PrEP/PEP workshops, a safe environment where you can find out more in a safe environment with others. Visit our Education page for more details and call us at (323) 874-4322 to register.
You can also visit: cdc.gov/hiv/basics/pep.html