PrEP Guide

PrEP (before exposure)

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is an HIV prevention strategy where people without HIV take anti-HIV medication to reduce their risk of becoming infected if they are exposed to the virus.

When someone is exposed to the virus through sex or injection drug use, these medicines work to keep the virus from establishing infection. If taken daily, PrEP can reduce the risk of HIV infection by over 90 percent.

Is PrEP for You?

PrEP can be a great option for people who may have an increased chance at being exposed to the virus. Your chance of exposure is increased if:

  • You have unprotected vaginal or anal sex
  • Are trying to get pregnant with a partner who is HIV-positive
  • Are in a sexual relationship with someone who is HIV-positive
  • Ever have sex for money, food, drugs, housing, etc.
  • Have sex with multiple partners
  • Share needles
  • Use condoms inconsistently

Important things to know: 

PrEP is not a substitute for condom use or other safer sex methods because PrEP does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections.

Take this survey to determine whether PrEP may be right for you.

Is PrEP Safe?

PrEP is safe to take daily for most people. Clinical trials have shown side effects to be mild, like a headache or nausea. Some persons with prior kidney disease may not be able to take PrEP.

Is PrEP Affordable?

Most insurance plans will cover PrEP. Assistance programs are available to help with copays or if it is not available under your plan. If you are uninsured, it is still possible for you to access PrEP.

How to Get Started

If you think you are a good candidate for PrEP, or you want to learn more about it follow these steps to get started.

Step 1: Call Petersen Clinic

Call Petersen Clinic to discuss your options, set up labs and schedule an appointment with a doctor. Call our PrEP staff at (520) 609-1219. If they are away from their desk, be sure to leave a message, they will call you back.

Step 2: Complete lab work

It is important to make sure you are healthy before starting PrEP. Laboratory screenings will be done before your visit with a doctor.

Before starting PrEP, screenings will include:

  • Fourth generation HIV test
  • Hepatitis panel
  • Kidney function
  • Pregnancy for women
  • Sexually transmitted infections

Note: It is possible to develop drug resistance if a person with HIV starts using PrEP, even if they don't know they are HIV+. Before starting PrEP, individuals should be tested for HIV using a fourth generation HIV test. This test can detect recent infection.

Step 3: Fill your prescription

If you and your doctor decide PrEP is right for you, a 90-day supply of PrEP medication will be prescribed. Arrangements will be made for follow-up laboratory testing, prescription refills, and office visits.

It is important to take the medications as prescribed. If you have difficulty taking PrEP daily, think you may be pregnant, or you are not feeling well; please call our staff for assistance.

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