Pre and Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP & PEP)
What is PrEP?
PrEP is short for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. In regards to HIV, it is a once daily pill used to decrease the risk of acquiring HIV. PrEP may benefit individuals that do not have HIV and are at risk for contracting the virus.
How effective is PrEP?
When taken daily, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection by more than 90%. PrEP takes 7 days of daily use to be effective when engaging in anal sex, and 20 days to be effective when engaging in vaginal sex.
PrEP does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)/sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
What is required to be on PrEP?
In order to get on PrEP an individual must:
- Be HIV negative – (Don’t know your status? SAAF offers confidential rapid HIV testing)
- Be at risk for acquiring HIV
- See a healthcare provider
- Receive follow-up and testing every three months
- Adhere to daily medication.
Where can I get PrEP?
Any health care provider can prescribe PrEP and most insurance plans cover PrEP. There are also some patient assistance programs that help with medication cost, if neccesary. The Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation provides patient navigation support for those interested in starting PrEP and resources for providers who want to prescribe PrEP.
How do I contact a PrEP Navigator?
Our PrEP Navigators are available Mon-Fri during business hours and during after-hour Testing. Please contact our PrEP Navigators, Michael Lopez, (520) 547-6109, firstname.lastname@example.org or Tony Bishop, (520) 547-6162 email@example.com for more information or to start PrEP services.
What is PEP?
Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is a way to prevent HIV infection after a potential HIV exposure. It involves taking HIV antiretroviral medications (ART) to reduce the risk of HIV transmission. PEP is taken daily for 28 days (4 weeks). If taken as prescribed, it can be effective in reducing the risk of HIV infection.
Is PEP for you?
PEP is given to an HIV-negative person who has had a possible recent exposure to HIV. PEP is considered an emergency treatment and should be taken as soon as possible and within 72-hours of a potential exposure.
When should PEP be taken?
The target time to take PEP is 2-4 hours after being potentially exposed to HIV in order to prevent infection. Clients will need to seek immediate assistance from their primary care physician or the emergency room if they suspect a recent exposure to HIV. High-risk exposures include the following:
- Unprotected sex with a partner of unknown HIV status
- Unprotected sex with an HIV+ partner
- Sharing needles with others who are HIV+ or unknown status
- Sexual assault
- Workplace accidents (e.g. healthcare worker who suffers a needle-stick injury).
PEP is not an alternative to other prevention methods, such as condoms and clean needles because PEP does not guarantee protection against HIV infection and it does not protect against sexually transmitted infections. PEP is not recommended to those who are exposed to HIV frequently.
What should I do if I need PEP?
If someone has experienced an HIV exposure, they should seek immediate medical attention by calling their doctor or going to Banner – University of Arizona Tucson Campus’ Emergency Room – 1501 N. Campbell Ave.