What is Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)?
“PrEP” stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. The word “prophylaxis” means to prevent or control the spread of an infection or disease. Pre-exposure prophylaxis is the use of antiretroviral (ARV) medication by HIV-negative individuals at high risk of HIV infection to reduce their risk.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is a way for people who do not have HIV but who are at very high risk of getting HIV to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection.
Why take PrEP?
With 50,000 new HIV infections each year in the United States, and no cure or vaccine available, prevention is key. When taken daily, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV. Studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken daily. Among people who inject drugs, PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV by at least 74% when taken daily. PrEP is much less effective if it is not taken consistently.
PrEP is only available by prescription. If you are interested in PrEP and do not have somewhere you regularly receive medical care or have had difficulty discussing PrEP with your doctor or nurse practitioner, please refer to the following list. These facilities all have at least one provider experienced with PrEP and offer respectful medical care to populations including MSM, IDU, and LGBT individuals. Some providers have indicated they have weekend and evening hours.
How do I pay for PrEP?
As of December 2019, all major health insurance companies and state-provided insurance in CT will cover PrEP medication at no cost. However, depending on your plan, you may be responsible for co-pays, co-insurance, and/or deductibles. A number of resources are available to help with these costs and can reduce or even eliminate what you pay out of pocket.
Many of the medical providers listed on the medical providers listed in the DPH PrEP Provider List below will be able to offer assistance in signing up for health insurance and applying for payment assistance programs. If a site convenient to you cannot offer you such assistance, or you have other questions about whether PrEP may be right for you, please contact Luis Diaz at the CT Department of Public Health @ 860-509-7418 or [email protected].