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Learn More About PrEP

Who Should Consider PrEP?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) might be right for you if you relate to any of the following:

  • Inconsistent condom use during sex.
  • Have sex without a condom with someone whose HIV status is unknown.
  • Have had a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the past six months.
  • Share needles or other equipment to inject drugs.
  • Have sex with someone with HIV who is not in care or has not been undetectable for six months.
  • Exchange sex for money, drugs, housing, or other things. 

For more information on if PrEP is right for you, visit Deciding if PrEP is Right for You (CDC).

 

How PrEP Works

PrEP works by preventing HIV from replicating itself in the body if an individual is exposed to the virus. PrEP should be taken as prescribed by a health care provider. PrEP does not treat or cure HIV and should not be used by people with HIV. PrEP does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Using condoms while on PrEP is highly recommended.

Things to note:

  • PrEP can be taken for any amount of time.
  • Only start or stop taking PrEP with the help of a health care provider.
  • Do not share PrEP with anyone.

For more information on PrEP, visit Preventing HIV with PrEP (CDC).

What is PEP?

Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is a preventive treatment that can reduce the chance a person who is exposed to HIV will get HIV.

PEP treatment involves two to three different antiretroviral medicines that work together to prevent HIV from making copies of itself and spreading through the body. To be effective, the medicines must be started as soon as possible—but not more than 72 hours (3 days) after—possible exposure to the virus. They must be taken on schedule for 28 days.

PEP medicines can reduce the chance of getting HIV, but they are not always effective. Taking PEP does not guarantee that a HIV infection will be prevented.

For more information about PEP, visit Preventing HIV with PEP (CDC).

About HIV

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) damages the body's immune system. If left untreated, HIV reduces the body's ability to fight off illnesses.

Ways HIV can be transmitted:

  • Having vaginal, anal or oral sex without a condom.
  • Sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs.
  • Birthing person to child during pregnancy, delivery and breast/chestfeeding.

You cannot get HIV by donating blood or through casual contact such as hugging or shaking hands.

For more information about HIV, visit About HIV (CDC).