PrEP: Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis to Prevent HIV
"PrEP" stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. The word “prophylaxis” means preventing the spread of HIV. The goal of PrEP is to prevent HIV infection in people at high risk, even if they are exposed to the virus.
Prevention is the key to stopping the epidemic when there is no cure or vaccine available for the virus. There are about 50,000 new HIV infections each year in the United States. In almost all cases the virus has been transmitted through sexual activity or intravenous drug use. Fortunately, when taken every day, PrEP medication provides a high level of protection against HIV and is even more effective when combined with condoms and other prevention tools, such as open and honest communication.
PrEP involves taking one pill every day. This pill (also called Truvada) contains some of the same medicines used to keep HIV under control in people who are already living with the virus. The CDC PrEP website is an an excellent source for additional information on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis with information for both consumers and healthcare providers.
Tell me more about PrEP
Watch the videos below to learn why PrEP should be used and how using it correctly and consistently will protect you if you are at increased risk for HIV.
Video: Are You Ready for PrEP?
(Video from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention covering the basics of starting and using PrEP)
Video: Start Talking, Stop HIV: Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)
(Video about PrEP by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention from the Start Talking: Stop HIV series)
Is PrEP Right for Me?
PrEP is an option for anyone who is at high risk of being exposed to HIV. People who may want to consider PrEP include:
- People with an HIV-positive sex or needle-sharing partner
- Men who have sex with men
- People who inject drugs
- Transgender people
- Women with bisexual male sex partners
- Women with male sex partners who inject drugs
Other factors that will elevate your risk include the factors in the list above combined with:
- Inconsistent or no condom use,
- Multiple sexual partners,
- A history of other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) such as Syphilis or Gonorrhea.
Only you and your health care provider can determine if PrEP is right for you. This makes finding a health care provider who knows about PrEP and who is also someone you feel comfortable talking with a very important part of getting, and staying, on PrEP.
How Do I Find a PrEP Provider in Montana?
Talk to your primary care provider first, because they have access to your full medical history. If you prefer to find someone else, a list of providers knowledgeable about PrEP may be found GetTested.MT.gov on the map under the PrEP tab. Several providers participate in Montana’s PrEP Assistance Program. and are listed in the table in the following section.