#ShesWell: PrEP for Women

#ShesWell: PrEP for Women

PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is medicine that is highly effective at preventing HIV from sex or injection drug use when used as prescribed.  PrEP is for everyone at risk for getting HIV! PrEP can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body. It is highly effective for preventing HIV if used as prescribed, but it is much less effective when not taken consistently. And remember, PrEP protects you against HIV but not against other STDs.

There are more HIV prevention options than ever before.  Talk to your partners, friends, and health care provider about PrEP.

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 is among people who inject drugs, we do know that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV by at least 74% when taken as prescribed.
  • PrEP is much less effective when it is not taken as prescribed.
How can I start PrEP?

Talk to your health care provider if you think PrEP may be right for you. PrEP can be prescribed only by a health care provider.

  • Before beginning PrEP, you must take an HIV test to make sure you don’t have HIV.
  • While taking PrEP, you’ll have to visit your health care provider every 3 months for
    • follow-up visits,
    • HIV tests, and
    • prescription refills.
  • Ask your health care provider about self-testing and telehealth services for follow-up visits.

If you don’t have a doctor, you can use the HIV Prevention Services Locator to find a PrEP provider and other HIV services near you.

Can I take PrEP while on birth control?

There are no known interactions between PrEP and hormone-based birth control methods, e.g., the pill, patch, ring, shot, implant, or IUD. It is safe to use both at the same time.

Can I take PrEP during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?

If you have a partner with HIV and are considering getting pregnant, talk to your doctor about PrEP if you’re not already taking it. PrEP may be an option to help protect you and your baby from getting HIV while you try to get pregnant, during pregnancy, or while breastfeeding.

How can I pay for PrEP?

Most insurance plans and state Medicaid programs cover PrEP. There are also other programs that provide PrEP for free or at a reduced cost: