Talk to your partners and friends about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP is a medicine that when taken as prescribed, can greatly reduce your risk of getting HIV from sex and injection drug use.

PrEP can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body. It is highly effective for preventing HIV if used as prescribed.  And remember, PrEP protects you against HIV but not against other sexual transmitted diseases (STDs).

There are more HIV prevention options than ever before.

What is PrEP

Learn about your HIV risk and how to lower it.

PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is medicine that reduces your chances of getting HIV from sex or injection drug use. When taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV.

How effective is PrEP?

PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV.

  • 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 pills are among people who inject drugs, we know that PrEP pills reduce the risk of getting HIV by at least 74% when taken as prescribed. Currently, PrEP shots are not recommended for people who inject drugs.
  • PrEP is less effective when not taken as prescribed.

How long does PrEP take to work?

icon of a PrEP pill
  • For receptive anal sex (bottoming), PrEP pills reach maximum protection from HIV at about 7 days of daily use.
  • For receptive vaginal sex and injection drug use, PrEP pills reach maximum protection at about 21 days of daily use.
  • No data are available for PrEP pill effectiveness for insertive anal sex (topping) or insertive vaginal sex.
  • We don’t know how long it takes for PrEP shots to reach maximum protection during sex.

Learn more about the PrEP effectiveness estimate.

Are there different types of PrEP?

PrEP can be pills or shots.

There are two pills approved for use as PrEP: Truvada® and Descovy®.

  • Truvada® is for people at risk through sex or injection drug use
  • Descovy® is for people at risk through sex. Descovy is not for people assigned female at birth who are at risk for HIV through receptive vaginal sex.

Apretude is the only shot approved for use as PrEP. Apretude is for people at risk through sex who weigh at least 77 pounds (35 kg).

How can I pay for PrEP?

Ready, Set, PrEP

Most insurance plans and state Medicaid programs cover PrEP. Under the Affordable Care Act, PrEP must be free under almost all health insurance plans. That means you can’t be charged for your PrEP medication or the clinic visits and lab tests you need to maintain your prescription.

If you don’t have insurance or Medicaid coverage, there are other programs that provide PrEP for free or at a reduced cost:

  • Ready, Set, PrEP makes PrEP medication available at no cost to those who qualify.
  • Co-pay assistance programs help lower the costs of PrEP medications. Income is not a factor in eligibility.
  • ViiVConnect offers a program to help pay for PrEP shots.
  • Some states have PrEP assistance programs. Some programs cover PrEP medication, while others cover clinical visits and lab tests. Some programs cover both.

Learn more about PrEP to decide if it is right for you.