HIV, STD and Hepatitis Branch
HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis
IF YOU THINK THAT YOU MAY HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO HIV FROM A SEX OR
NEEDLE-SHARING PARTNER WITHIN THE LAST 72 HOURS, VISIT THE HIV
POST-EXPOSURE PROPHYLAXIS (PEP) PAGE (hyperlink).
is pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)?
PrEP is an HIV prevention method for people who are HIV-negative.
It involves taking one pill daily to prevent HIV infection. Several
studies have shown that, when taken as directed, PrEP dramatically
reduces the risk of becoming infected when combined with other
prevention services. The
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently
recommends PrEP for all individuals who are at high risk for HIV
The pill (brand name Truvada®)
is a combination of two anti-HIV medications (tenofovir and
emtricitabine). Truvada® is commonly used to treat HIV positive
individuals in combination with other anti-HIV medications. In
2012 the Food and Drug Administration approved Truvada for the
of HIV-infection in
County New Center article: Drug Significantly Reduces Risk of Getting
Is PrEP right for me?
PrEP may be right for you if you:
- Have a partner who is HIV-positive
- Have sex or
needle-sharing partners of unknown HIV status
Have been diagnosed with an
STD during the past 6 months
The only way to determine whether PrEP is right for you is to talk
to your doctor. Visit PrEP
for information about talking to your doctor.
Does PrEP have side effects?
Any doctor can prescribe PrEP. The majority of people taking PrEP do
not report experiencing side effects. About 1 in 10 people taking PrEP
report that they had a headache, stomach pain, or weight loss when
they first started taking Truvada. In most people, these side effects
improved or went away after a few weeks.
In people who are HIV-negative and have taken PrEP for up to 5
years, no significant health effects have been seen.
How do I get PrEP?
Truvada for PrEP is covered by many private insurance plans and by
Medi-Cal. Talk to your doctor about whether Truvada may be right for
If you do not have a doctor or health insurance, you may contact
Covered California for information on signing up for insurance or
If you need help, staff at the County of San Diego Rosecrans STD
clinic can help you navigate the process of getting on PrEP using
your own health insurance, or by helping you establish new health
Call the PrEP navigator for more information
or to schedule an appointment: (619) 692-6621.
If you are currently uninsured or have a high copay for Truvada, you
may be eligible to get Truvada for PrEP through the manufacturer’s
(Gilead) Patient Assistance Program.
What other resources are
there in addition to PrEP or PEP?
Last updated November 7, 2017.