10 Things You Should Know About PrEP and HIV
ASP Cares is a market leading specialty pharmacy focused on serving people living with rare conditions and disorders such as HIV (the human immunodeficiency virus). As part of our commitment to help people gain and keep access to vital medications, we have created this short blog to explain how PrEP can help protect you from HIV.
1. What is PrEP for HIV?
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is an FDA approved prescription medication called Truvada. PrEP has been clinically proven to reduce the risk of getting HIV from sexual contact. (HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.)
People on PrEP have to take the medication every day, and they need to see a healthcare provider for regular follow-up visits every three months. The cost of PrEP is often covered by private health insurance. Other sources of funding may be available if you who cannot afford the medication.
2. PrEP Does Not Protect Against Pregnancy or Other STDs
PrEP does not prevent other forms of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and it will not prevent you from becoming pregnant. You should talk to your healthcare provider about other ways to protect yourself from STDs and unwanted pregnancies.
3. PrEP Can be Very Effective
The first things you should know about PrEP is that when used correctly, it is extremely effective. PrEP can reduce your risk of becoming HIV positive by as much as 92%.
This is especially true when used in conjunction with safer sex practices such as reducing your number of partners, using polyurethane or latex condoms, and or getting tested at least once a year for HIV, as well as other STDs. (Having other kinds of sexually transmitted diseases increases your risk of becoming infected with HIV.)
4. You Must be HIV Negative to Start Using PrEP
If you are already HIV positive, meaning you have been infected with the virus, taking PrEP alone will not be enough to keep HIV in check.
Taking PrEP if you are HIV Positive Can Make It Harder to Treat
In fact, if you take PrEP and are already infected with HIV, it can make treatment less effective and the virus harder to treat. If you think that you have been exposed to HIV, you should get tested right away. If you are HIV positive, talk to your healthcare provider about when you should start treatment.
5. There is a Window Period
Because it takes time for HIV to show up, there is a period of time called the window-period in which you may test negative for HIV, yet still be infected with the virus. Fortunately, due to improved early detection tests, this window is shrinking.
6. HIV is Treatable
HIV is very treatable, and the sooner you are treated, the healthier you can be. For more information about what to do if you are diagnosed with HIV click here.
7. Locate a HIV Testing Site Near You
You can locate a testing site near you by calling 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636) or texting your zip code to KNOW IT (566948). You can also purchase a at-home test kit online or from a retail pharmacy near you. (Home test kits do not require a prescription.)
8. Take PrEP Once A Day
A single dose taken every day can help you protect yourself from HIV. To be effective though, you need to take the medication as directed, every day. Missing or skipping doses makes the medication less effective.
You can take PrEP with or without food. While you don’t have to take it the same time every day, it may help you remember to take it.
You should also know that it takes time for the medication to build up in your bloodstream enough to provide protection from HIV. Your healthcare provider can explain how and when you should take PrEP, as well as what to do if you miss a dose.
9. Any Licensed Prescriber Can Prescribe PrEP
You do not need to go to a specialist to get a PrEP prescription. Any legally prescribing healthcare provider can write a prescription for PrEP. For more about how PrEP works to prevent HIV, please click here.
10. If You Cannot Afford PrEP, Help is Available
Most health insurance programs cover PrEP. If you do not have healthcare insurance, certain local, state, and federal resources are available for those who quality.
ASP Cares proudly works with patients to locate alternative funding to cover the cost of PrEP, as well as other HIV medications. Or click here to learn more about how ASP Cares helps serve people living with HIV.
ASP Cares is committed to helping fight the spread of HIV, as well as caring for those living with the virus. We proudly provide:
• Streamlined access to vital medications
• Exceptional medication management
• Help maximizing your existing benefits and or locating alternative funding
• Free, discreet delivery of medications right to your door (or local pickup)
• Testing Locator
• HIV Resources by State
ASP Cares: Big enough to serve. Small enough to care.
This content does not represent medical advice. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any condition. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified medical provider.