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PrEP & PEP: Pre and Post Exposure Prophylaxis

Important COVID-19 Update: We are following all the recommendations given to us by health authorities. If you need a PrEP or PEP referral, we are taking PrEP/PEP intakes in person, via phone (520-547-6139), Bilingual phone (520-547-6121) or e-mail (prep.pep@saaf.org). This allows us to connect you to a PrEP/PEP provider without having to come to our SAAF office. Your health is important to us! 

Pre and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is recommended as an HIV prevention strategy.  PrEP medication, when used as prescribed reduces the risk of acquiring HIV through sexual contact by 99%. Three medications, Truvada (emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate), Descovy (emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide) and Cabenuva (cabotegravir and rilpivirine) are approved for use as PrEP medications.

When taken as prescribed, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection by 99%. PrEP takes 7 days of daily use to be 99% effective when engaging in anal sex, and 20 days to be 99% effective when engaging in vaginal sex.

PrEP does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)/sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

To get on PrEP an individual must:

• Be HIV negative – (Do not know your status? SAAF offers confidential rapid HIV testing)

• Desire to prevent HIV

• See a healthcare provider as prescribed

• Receive follow-up and testing every three month or as prescribed

• Adhere to medication as prescribed

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 necessary. The Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation provides patient navigation support for those interested in starting PrEP and resources for providers who want to prescribe PrEP.

Our PrEP Navigators are available Mon-Fri during business hours, Outreach events in the community, during Syringe Access Program (SAP) and, during after-hour Testing. Please contact our PrEP Navigators through email at prep.pep@saaf.org  for more information or to start PrEP services.

You may also directly call one of our PrEP Navigators:

Brian Muñoz, PrEP/PEP Navigation Manager: 520-547-6139

Ana Miranda, Bilingual PrEP/PEP Navigator: 520-547-6121

Yessica Hernandez, Bilingual PrEP/PEP Navigator: 520-547-6177

Viviana Cadena, Sr. Bilingual PrEP/PEP Navigator: 520-547-6137

PrEP/PEP Mobile Phone 520-289-9732

Post-Exposure Prophylaxis

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.

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.

The sooner you start PEP after a potential exposure to HIV the better, to prevent HIV infection. Clients will need to seek immediate assistance from a PEP navigator, their primary care physician, or the emergency room if they suspect a recent exposure to HIV. Possible exposures include the following:

Unprotected sex with a partner of unknown HIV status

Unprotected sex with a partner living with HIV that is not Undetectable

Sharing needles with others who are living with HIV and not Undetectable or of unknown status

Sexual assault

Workplace accidents (e.g., frontline workers who suffer from a needle-stick injury).

PEP is not an alternative to other prevention methods, such as condoms and unused 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.

If someone has experienced an HIV exposure, they should seek immediate medical attention by calling a PEP navigator, their doctor or going to Banner – University of Arizona Tucson Campus’ Emergency Room – 1625 N. Campbell Ave.

Please go directly to Banner – University of Arizona Tucson Campus Emergency Room at 1625 N. Campbell Ave. and tell them you have been exposed to HIV and you need PEP.