What is it?
“PrEP” stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. The word “prophylaxis” means to prevent or control the spread of an infection or disease. The goal of PrEP is to prevent HIV infection from taking hold if you are exposed to the virus. This is done by taking one pill every day. These are some of the same medicines used to keep the virus under control in people who are already living with HIV.
How well does PrEP work?
In several studies of PrEP, the risk of getting HIV infection was much lower—up to 92% lower—for those who took the medicines consistently than for those who didn’t take the medicines.
How can I start PrEP?
We are here to help! At JWCH we will not only answer your questions but help you navigate through the entire process whether you have insurance or not. We can help! Talk to your health care provider about PrEP.
If you don't talk to us, talk to your provider and maybe you will agree that PrEP might reduce your risk of getting HIV, he or she will conduct a general physical and test you for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Your blood will also be tested to see if your kidneys and liver are working well. If these tests show that PrEP medicines are likely to be safe for you to take, your provider may give you a prescription.
If you do take PrEP, you will need to follow up regularly with your health care provider. You will have blood tests for HIV infection and to see if your body is reacting well to Truvada. You will also receive counseling on sexual or injection drug use behaviors.
It is important to take your medicine every day as prescribed. You will receive advice about ways to help you take it regularly so that it has the best chance to help you avoid HIV infection. Tell your provider if you are having trouble remembering to take your medicine or if you want to stop PrEP.
PrEPare.LA, PrEParate.LA, and the PrEPducator social media profiles are extensions of JWCH Institute, Inc.’s (JWCH) PrEP Education Program.
JWCH’s PrEP Education Program aims to improve awareness and access of PrEP throughout Los Angeles, particularly among those most vulnerable to HIV—including young gay and bisexual African-American and Latino Men and transgender women of color, especially individuals patronizing commercial sex venues or having sex without condoms. There is also particular focus on empowering individuals who might not normally have access to insurance or health care, including those who are undocumented.
JWCH’s PrEP Educator (PrEPducator) provides PrEP, HIV, and sexual health awareness education through workshops, one on one interactions, and via social media outreach across Los Angeles. The PrEPducator also assists individuals navigate the health care system with the goal to empower patients to advocate for their own health and wellness.
With 50,000 new HIV infections each year in the United States, and no cure or vaccine available, prevention is key. When taken every day, PrEP can provide a high level of protection against HIV, and is even more effective when it is combined with condoms and other prevention tools.
Is PrEP a vaccine?
No. PrEP medicine is not injected into the body and does not work the same way as a vaccine. A vaccine teaches your body to fight off infection for several years. For PrEP, you take a pill every day by mouth. The pill that was shown to be safe and to help block HIV infection is called “Truvada” (pronounced tru vá duh). Truvada is a combination of two drugs (tenofovir and emtricitabine). If you take PrEP daily, the presence of the medicine in your bloodstream can often stop HIV from taking hold and spreading in your body. If you do not take PrEP every day, there may not be enough medicine in your bloodstream to block the virus.
JWCH Institute’s current mission is to improve the health and wellness of under-served segments of the population of Los Angeles County through the direct provision or coordination of health care, health education services and research. The mission is being accomplished through a variety of programs and activities, such as: medical outreach and referrals for medical care, HIV services and drug treatment; health education; psychosocial assessment and intervention; primary medical care; family planning services; and research. To find out more, visit http://JWCHInstitute.org.
PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) is a daily medicine (taken as a pill) that helps you stay HIV-negative. Prevent HIV after exposure.