Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

What is PrEP?

PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. The word “prophylaxis” means to prevent or control the spread of an infection or disease.

PrEP can help prevent you from getting HIV if you are exposed to the virus. 

When taken every day, PrEP can provide a high level of protection against HIV, but, only condoms protect against other STDs like syphilis and gonorrhea

Oral PrEP is most effective when taken consistently each day. CDC reports that studies on PrEP effectiveness have shown that consistent use of PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% and from injection drug use by at least 74%.

People who use PrEP should take the medicine every day and return to the health care provider every 3 months for follow-up and prescription refills.

Should I consider taking PrEP?

PrEP is used by people who are HIV negative and at high risk of being exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use. If you have HIV, PrEP medicine is not for you.

Specifically, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you should consider PrEP if you are HIV negative, have had anal or vaginal sex in the past 6 months, and:

PrEP is also recommended if you inject drugs and you:

  • have an injection partner with HIV, or
  • share needles, syringes, or other equipment to inject drugs.

PrEP should also be considered for people without HIV who have been prescribed non-occupational post-exposure prophylaxis (nPEP) and:

  • report continued risk behavior, or
  • have used multiple courses of PEP.

This fact sheet is based on information from the following sources from CDC: