Worried that you might be at risk for HIV? Call to make an appointment to determine if PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is right for you: 216-778-8305.
What is Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)?
PrEP is the once-daily pill used to protect someone from becoming infected with HIV. The medicine used is called Truvada, and it was approved for HIV prevention by the FDA in 2012. Taking Truvada once a day reduces a person’s chance on becoming infected with HIV by 92 - 99 percent! PrEP does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections (STI) or pregnancy. It is not a replacement for condoms. It is not a cure for HIV.
How does PrEP work?
Taking Truvada once a day will help prevent HIV. Only a doctor can prescribe PrEP. Your blood also has to be tested periodically while on Truvada to make sure that your kidneys and liver are functioning normally. Continued condom use is strongly recommended, as PrEP does not offer protection against other sexually transmitted infections, like syphilis or chlamydia.
Is PrEP right for me?
Truvada reduces all risks of HIV infection: men who have sex with men, men who have sex with women, women who have sex with men, and injection drug users. PrEP also makes sexual relationships safer between someone who is HIV positive and someone who is HIV negative.
How long do I have to be on PrEP for it to be effective?
PrEP can take between 7 to 21 days of daily use to be fully effective depending on the type of sex or other risk behaviors a person engages in. PrEP must be taken every day to be fully effective.
Potential Side Effects
PrEP is generally very safe and well-tolerated. Most people on PrEP report experiencing no side effects. Some, however, have reported side effects. Those side effects are listed below and ordered from most to least common:
- Weight loss
- Slight decrease in bone mineral density (no risk of fracture or damage. Returns to normal after PrEP is discontinued)
- Slight decrease in kidney function (returns to normal after the discontinuation of PrEP)
For those who experience symptoms, these side effects went away on their own after the first couple weeks of taking PrEP.
Can I get PrEP at MetroHealth?
Yes. The Infectious Disease physicians at MetroHealth are all qualified and familiar with administering PrEP. Call to make an appointment to see if PrEP is right for you 216-778-8305.
PrEP can also be obtained at MetroHealth’s McCafferty Health Center, 4242 Lorain Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113. Call 216-651-3499 for an appointment.
Can I Afford It?
Currently, Medicaid and most private health insurance plans will cover the cost of PrEP, including the medication, medical appointments and lab tests associated with PrEP. In Ohio, Medicaid completely covers PrEP with little to no out of pocket expense. If you have private health insurance, check with your plan to get more details about how PrEP is covered and ask about the amount of any medication co-pay.
For people without access to health coverage, a medication assistance program is available from the drug manufacturer. To find out if you are eligible for the Gilead medication assistance program, visit www.truvada.com/truvada-patient-assistance or call 1-855-330-5479.
If you have health coverage but the amount of medication co-pay would present a financial challenge, you may be eligible for a co-pay Coupon Card from the drug manufacturer. Visit their website or call 1-877-505-6986 for more information.
For additional information or assistance, Project Inform provides this reference chart.
Have a question about PrEP?
Contact Josh Kratz at [email protected] or 216-778-8137.
Local PrEP Resources
Visit www.clevelandprep.com for more information, a local directory of PrEP providers, and additional resources.
Outside of Cuyahoga County?
Visit www.ohioprep.org for a statewide directory of PrEP providers, more information, and other resources.