PrEP is short for pre-exposure prophylaxis and is a medication regimen to reduce the likelihood of contracting HIV. A once-daily pill can be up to 99% effective at preventing HIV. Currently, the only medication that has been FDA-approved to be used as PrEP is Truvada®, which combines emtricitabine and tenofovir. PrEP requires a prescription as well as special health considerations.
PRE = Before
EXPOSURE = Coming into contact with HIV
PROPHYLAXIS = Treatment to prevent an infection
PrEP does NOT protect against other sexually transmitted infections and is NOT a vaccine.
If you want to start taking PrEP, there are many programs available that can help you pay for the medication and associated costs like office visits and lab work. This includes the Ohio Department of Health’s new PAPI program which is available to residents of Ohio. Read more about PAPI and other assistance programs on our Paying for PrEP/PEP page.
PEP is short for post-exposure prophylaxis. PEP is different from PrEP. PEP is a sort of morning-after pill for HIV and must be taken within 72 hours of possible HIV exposure. If someone who is HIV negative and not already taking PrEP experiences sexual violence or has sex without a condom with someone who might be living with HIV, they should reach out to a doctor or local AIDS Service Organization about starting PEP. PEP is a 28-day prescription of powerful anti-HIV medications and should only be taken when necessary.