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How to get PrEP to Prevent HIV
July 10, 2017 at 10:21 am

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By Brad Lundahl, Program Manager

PrEP, the once-a-day pill to prevent HIV, works. Period. But most people still have no idea how to accessit, and more importantly, how to afford it.

That’s where we come in! Equality California has put together Steps to PrEP, a guide to help you navigate finding a PrEP provider, getting PrEP prescribed, paying for PrEP, and ensuring you can continue to access it.

1. Locate a PrEP provider near you. There are plenty of resources to help you find a medical provider who is willing and able to prescribe PrEP. Make sure you call the provider before you make an appointment to confirm they still offer PrEP to clients.

2. Prepare for your appointment. Once you identify a PrEP provider and book an appointment, prepare yourself with this handy PrEP Self-Assessment Card. Remember, in order to be prescribed PrEP, your healthcare provider or doctor will have to test you for HIV. They may also inquire about your sexual history, other health issues, and ask to test for other STIs. PrEP is only available for HIV-negative individuals. You can also print off a PrEP Provider Checklist to make sure your doctor is prepared.

3. Discuss with your doctor to see if PrEP is right for you. After you and your healthcare provider have determined that PrEP is the best option of you, you will be given a three-month supply of PrEPcontingent on an HIV-negative test result. Once you receive the test result you will be able to go to your nearest clinic to pick up the medication.

4. Pay for PrEP. A lot of individuals think PrEP is unaffordable, but it is covered by most private insurance and healthcare plans, including Covered California and Medi-Cal. For an infographic on the various PrEP copays on different Covered California plans, click here.

Gilead also offers co-pay assistance programs to cover up to $3,600 dollars a year of co-pays for PrEP. That means your co-pays for PrEP will be eliminated or dramatically reduced under most private insurance or Covered California plans. Signing up for Gilead co-pay is assistance is easy and can be done so here.

5. But what if I don’t have insurance? Don’t worry, there are still options available for those without insurance. Gilead’s Truvada for PrEP medication assistance program may be one option to cover the costs. For more information, click here.

6. Take PrEP daily. When taken daily, PrEP is up to 99% effective, so find a time each day that works best for you. Most people who take PrEP report no side effects. Some users experience nausea, dizziness, headaches, or weight loss, but these are mild and usually subside in a few weeks. Importantly, a new study has shown PrEP to be as safe as aspirin.

7. Renew your PrEP prescription. Every three months, you’ll need to return to your medical provider to be re-tested for HIV in order to renew your PrEP prescription.

8. Empower yourself. PrEP empowers men and women to take control of their sexual health and is a highly effective HIV-prevention strategy. But remember, it does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). Condoms remain the best option to prevent STIs and add additional protection when used with PrEP.

80,000 people around the country are already using PrEP to prevent HIV. It is a crucial tool in the fight against HIV. Follow our Steps to PrEP to help prep yourself for a healthy future and check out our #TakeIt webpage for even more resources!

If you have any additional questions, please contact Brad Lundahl at brad@eqca.org or 323-848-9801.

Supported by grant funding from Gilead Sciences, Inc. Gilead Sciences, Inc. has had no input into the development or content of these materials.

Brad Lundahl is a program manager specializing in Equality California’s HIV/AIDS and political programs.

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