PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is the use of medication to prevent HIV infection. PrEP can be taken as a daily pill, or a shot given every 2 months. PrEP is used by people without HIV who may be exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use.
There are two pills and one shot approved by the FDA for use as PrEP:
- Truvada: Daily pill recommended for adolescents and adults at risk of HIV infection through sex or injection drug use.
- Descovy: Daily pill recommended for adolescents and adults at risk of HIV infection through sex or injection drug use. Not to be used in people assigned female at birth who are at risk of getting HIV from vaginal sex because its effectiveness has not been studied in this group of people.
- Apretude: A shot that is taken every two months and recommended for adolescents and adults at risk for HIV infection through sex or injection drug use.
PrEP is highly effective when taken as prescribed. Oral PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of getting HIV from sex by 99 percent, and by 84 percent among those who inject drugs. The effectiveness of both the pill and the shot is reduced when not taken as prescribed.
PrEP does not protect you from other sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis, so you should use PrEP together with condoms. PrEP can be taken with birth control or hormone therapy.
People who use PrEP must commit to taking the drug every day or shot every two months. They must also see their health care provider for a follow-up appointment every two to three months.
Where and when
In Philadelphia, most people can get PrEP for little or no cost, even if they don’t have insurance. Talk to your doctor or visit one of the sites on this map.
Learn more about medical providers that offer PrEP to eligible patients.