HIV is more preventable than ever. So, let's talk about PrEP, PEP and U=U.
PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a medication that helps you stay HIV negative. When taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective. PrEP is safe and generally well tolerated. Most insurance plans (public and private) cover PrEP.
PrEP works for youth, women, men, trans people, people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, and people who inject drugs.
PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis, is a combination of medications you can take AFTER a possible exposure to HIV if you are not on PrEP or have missed taking PrEP as prescribed. PEP is more effective the sooner it’s started, and must be started within 72 hours of the exposure. PEP is taken daily for 28 days.
Undetectable means that when a person living with HIV regularly takes medications, it keeps the virus at very low levels. This is also called “undetectable viral load”. People who take their HIV medicines as prescribed and stay undetectable have no risk of passing on HIV through sex. This concept is also known as U=U, short for “undetectable = untransmittable.”
These HIV prevention strategies are tools you can use alone or together to have the sex you want and reduce your chances of getting HIV!
PrEP and PEP: The Basics, by Planned Parenthood
PrEP may be an option for you if:
- You wonder how HIV impacts your life
- Condoms are not used with partners of unknown HIV status
- You or your partner(s) recently had gonorrhea or syphilis
- You want to have sex without condoms with a partner who has HIV
- You have sex for money, food, housing, and/or drugs
- You inject drug and share needles
Or, check out this one-page PrEP primer from Planned Parenthood.
➔ Clinician Consultation Center’s PrEPLine – Share this link with your medical provider if they are new to PrEP and would like expert clinical consultation by phone.
➔ Help Desk (if a provider refuses to prescribe PrEP) – Lambda Legal
➔ What to Do If Your Provider Says “No” to PrEP – Human Rights Campaign
➔ Check out our State Resources pages to find PrEP resources in your state.
➔ California Specific Resources:
Under 21? Check out How To Apply For Minor Consent Medi-Cal Program
Under 18? In California, minors may legally seek reproductive and sexual health services (“sensitive services”) without a parent’s consent or notice. Learn more about minor consent and confidentiality laws.
12–17 years old? If you are uninsured or on another person's insurance policy and worry about confidentiality, you can apply to PrEP-AP.
In Oakland? Check out an App called Healthy Oakland Teens to help you find the closest teen clinics and/or school-based health centers.
Want more info on your sexual and reproductive health and rights? ACLU has a great primer on Your Health, Your Rights for Teens