What is PrEP?

PrEP stands for “pre-exposure prophylaxis”.

Taking a daily dose of PrEP was approved in July 2012 for reducing the chance of getting HIV infection in people who don’t have HIV.

When used with other safer sex practices (like condoms), PrEP can help protect you from getting HIV from an infected partner.

PrEP can be used for HIV prevention by men who have sex with men, men who have sex with women, women who have sex with men, and injection drug users.

How to talk to your doctor about PrEP

Make an appointment with your health care provider. Your doctor can help you to decide if PrEP would be a good choice for you.

Do research. Make a list of reasons that you think that PrEP would be a good choice for you.

Think about your routine, especially things that might make it easy or hard to take a daily medication.

Make a health history list for your doctor. That includes any past illnesses or concerns you have, as well as a list of your current medications (including supplements, herbs, etc.).

Make sure a translator is available or bring someone who can translate if you would prefer to speak a language other than English during your appointment.

During Your Visit

Be clear. Take out your notes and tell your doctor that you are interested in PrEP right away.

Do not be shy. Give your doctor all the details about your life that could be important to your health. Don’t worry about being judged. If your sex life is a hard topic to talk about, say that to your doctor. It will help to start the conversation.

Ask questions. You want to be sure that you understand what your doctor is telling you.

Take notes during your visit so that you can remember what your doctor said.

After Your Visit

Review your notes or any information provided by your doctor.

Consider your options. Your doctor gave you a lot of information. Now it is up to you to make the right decision for you.

Call your doctor if you have more questions. Ask to speak to a nurse if your doctor is unavailable.

Schedule tests or follow-up appointments your doctor requested.

Get your results if you had tests done at your appointment.

If you feel comfortable, you may want to discuss this choice with your partners, family, or friends.

What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor?

  • Am I a good candidate for PrEP?
  • What other options can I use to lower my risk of getting HIV infection?
  • How effective would PrEP be at reducing my risk of HIV infection?
  • Are there any side effects?
  • Can you prescribe PrEP for me here?
  • Are there ways to help me to pay for PrEP if I need assistance?
  • Are you willing to prescribe and manage PrEP for me?
  • How often will I have to be tested for HIV and other STDs?

Additional questions for women:

  • Can PrEP help me to get pregnant safely if my partner has HIV?
  • Can I take PrEP if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?