PrEP & PEP
It Feels Good to Talk About PrEP.
At APLA Health, we think it’s good to talk honestly and openly about sex. It’s just one key to establishing a good relationship with your medical provider and with your partner(s). We also believe in talking about the different tools that help protect you against HIV. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is one of those tools.
What is PrEP?
You’ve probably heard about PrEP: It’s a pill you take every day that protects you from HIV. When taken every day as prescribed, it is up to 99% effective.
PrEP is a way for people who don’t have HIV to help prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. PrEP stands for “pre-exposure prophylaxis,” which means the pill protects you before you get exposed to HIV and keeps the virus from finding a home in your body. Truvada is the medication that is currently used for PrEP, and it has been used, together with other medications, to treat people living with HIV for many years. PrEP is not a cure for HIV and it does not keep you from getting other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, warts, and syphilis. Condoms are still the best way to avoid catching other STDs.
Get in Touch
If you want to know more about PrEP and find out if it’s right for you, give one of our PrEP Navigators a call.
Download our guide to PrEP
Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)
Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PEP, involves taking anti-HIV drugs as soon as possible after you may have been exposed to HIV to try to reduce the chance of becoming HIV-positive.
To be effective, PEP must begin within 72 hours of exposure, before the virus has time to rapidly replicate in your body. PEP consists of 2-3 antiretroviral medications and should be taken for 28 days. Your medical provider will determine what treatment is right for you based on how you were exposed to HIV. PEP is not 100% guaranteed effective; it does not guarantee that someone exposed to HIV will not become infected with HIV.
When should I take PEP if I’ve been exposed?
Your health care provider will consider whether PEP is right for you based on how you might have been exposed and whether you know for sure that the individual who might have exposed you is HIV-positive. You may be asked to return for more HIV testing at four to six weeks, three months, and six months to determine your HIV status.
Where can I get PEP?
We will refer you to the appropriate facility as quickly as possible. If you think you were exposed over the weekend, going to an ER may be your best option.
Where can I get information on assistance with co-pays and finding medication?
The Fair Pricing Coalition has created a guide to PEP medication and assistance copay programs. It offers details, phone numbers, links, and the process a person has to follow to either obtain free drugs or assistance with out-of-pocket costs. See http://fairpricingcoalition.org/patient-assistance-programs-and-co-pay-programs-for-pep/ for more information.
Get in Touch
If you think you need PEP, please call us at: 323.329.9702
The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health funds two clinics to provide PEP free of charge to those people at risk for HIV infection who do not have insurance to pay for the medication.