What is Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)?
“PrEP” stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. PrEP is a way for people who don’t have HIV but who are at very high risk of getting it to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day.
PrEP is a powerful HIV prevention tool and can be combined with condoms and other prevention methods to provide even greater protection than when used alone. But people who use PrEP must commit to taking the drug every day and seeing their health care provider for follow-up every 3 months.
Where Can I Get PrEP?
For more information on PrEP services offered through the Northeast Health District, please call 706-340-0996 or submit a PrEP Referral Request. There is also a PrEP locator link at the bottom of this page.
If you think you may be at high risk for HIV, you can also talk to your healthcare provider about whether PrEP is right for you.
Can anyone use PrEP?
PrEP is not for everyone. Federal guidelines recommend that PrEP be considered for people who are HIV-negative and at very high risk for HIV infection.
PrEP involves taking medication daily and regular visits to a health care provider. It’s also important to remember that taking PrEP will not prevent you from getting syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, or other sexually transmitted diseases. Similarly, for those taking PrEP because of injection drug use risks, PrEP will not protect you from getting hepatitis C, skin, or heart infections.
How Well Does PrEP Work?
When taken as prescribed, PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99%. PrEP is much less effective if it is not taken consistently. PrEP can be even more effective if it is combined with other ways to prevent new HIV infections like condom use, drug abuse treatment, and treatment for people living with HIV to reduce the chance of passing the virus to others.
Is PrEP Safe?
Some people in clinical studies of PrEP had early side effects such as an upset stomach or loss of appetite, but these were mild and usually went away within the first month. Some people also had a mild headache. No serious side effects were observed. If you are on PrEP, you should tell your healthcare provider if these or other symptoms become severe or do not go away.