PrEP is for people who are at ongoing risk of contracting HIV. PrEP is not the right choice for people who may have been exposed to HIV within the past 72 hours. If you use it correctly, PrEP can reduce your chances of getting HIV through sex by up to 99% if taken correctly. And using condoms and PrEP together helps you stay even safer.
PrEP can also reduce your chances of getting HIV from sharing needles by more than 70%. You should have an HIV test every 3 months while you are taking PrEP, so you will have regular follow-up visits with your healthcare provider. If you have trouble taking PrEP every day or if you want to stop taking PrEP, talk to your healthcare provider. PrEP is most effective when taken consistently every day.
CDC reports that studies on the effectiveness of PrEP have shown that consistent use of PrEP reduces the risk of contracting HIV through sex by about 99% and injecting drug use by at least 74% Add other prevention methods, such as condom use, along with PrEP can further reduce a person's risk of contracting HIV. It can take 7 to 20 days from when you take the first pill until it is most effective. It's important to weigh the pros and cons and have an open and honest discussion about PrEP with your healthcare provider before starting PrEP. If your provider is willing to prescribe PrEP but needs guidance on how to support you, you can contact the Physician Consultation Center or consult federal PrEP guidelines.
If you want to stop taking PrEP for any reason, talk to the health care provider who prescribed it or another provider who is familiar with PrEP. If you have completed a PEP course and a fourth-generation HIV test is negative, you can transition from PEP to PrEP without interruption, if desired. If you are not taking PrEP and think you have been exposed to HIV, then you may consider taking a PEP course. It's important to talk to your healthcare provider about whether daily PrEP or on-demand PrEP is right for you.
PrEP is not a treatment for HIV; in fact, taking PrEP when you have HIV can make the virus more difficult to treat. HIV testing is done before a person starts PrEP to ensure that only HIV-negative people are prescribed PrEP. Generally speaking, cisgender men who take PrEP on demand should continue to take PrEP medication for at least 2 days after any possible exposure.