PREP FOR GAY AND BI MEN
Explore PrEP: PrEPare for the Possibilities is the District’s campaign to raise awareness among same gender loving men about PrEP, a safe, daily pill that helps lower your chances of getting HIV. Below are some frequently asked questions about PrEP to help you determine if it’s right for you, plus information on how to get involved in the Explore PrEP campaign.
WHAT TO KNOW
WHAT IS PREP?
PrEP stands for “pre-exposure prophylaxis” and it’s sold under the brand name Truvada. PrEP is a pill you take daily that lowers your chances of contracting HIV through sex by more than 90%. And if you inject drugs, it lowers your chances by 70%.
IS PREP SAFE? ARE THERE SIDE EFFECTS?
PrEP is very safe and, for most people, there are no major side effects. But, like with any drug, some people reported nausea, dizziness, and fatigue after using PrEP. You can read more about the side effects of PrEP on the CDC’s PrEP page.
PrEP for the possibilites.
HOW DO I KNOW IF PREP IS RIGHT FOR ME?
PrEP is for people who are HIV negative and vulnerable to getting HIV. You might be thinking, “But aren’t all sexually active people vulnerable to getting HIV?” You’re right!
However, certain populations have a higher chance of contracting HIV than others.
Those difference in rates for different groups is due to a lot of factors, including but not limited to the type of sex people have, who they have it with, access to healthcare, structural discrimination, and a huge range of other things. Our point is, the risk of contracting HIV isn’t exactly the same for every group of people.
You might want to consider going on PrEP if you’re part of one of the following groups:
- Men who love same-gender men.
- Black men and women.
- Transgender women.
- Drug injection users.
- Sex workers.
You might want to also consider PrEP if:
- You don’t always use condoms (external or internal) when you have anal or vaginal intercourse.
- You don’t always ask your partner(s) to wear a condom.
- You’ve been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection in the last six months.
- You’re unsure of the HIV status of your sexual partners.
- You’re in a relationship with an HIV-positive partner who may or may not be on HIV treatment.
- You are a person who injects drugs, or you’re in a sexual relationship with a person who injects drugs.
- You’re HIV-negative and interested in PrEP.
If you’re still not sure whether or not PrEP is the right choice for you, check out this simple web survey that will help you figure it out.
DO I HAVE TO SHARE THAT I’M TAKING PREP?
Nope. You don’t have to share that you’re on PrEP with anyone if you don’t want to. Taking PrEP is a personal decision and it’s 100% up to you who you want to share it with. But regardless, don’t feel ashamed. You made the excellent choice to take your sexual health into your own hands and you can feel proud of that.
IF I TAKE PREP, CAN I STOP USING CONDOMS?
If you want to protect yourself from other STDs, you should still use condoms. PrEP protects you from HIV, but it won’t protect you from other STDs, including syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and hepatitis. It also won’t prevent pregnancy. Only condoms can help prevent both STDs and pregnancy — and we’ll give them to you for free.
WHEN DOES PREP START WORKING?
People who have anal sex need to take PrEP consistently for seven to 14 days before they have sex. That’s how long it takes to show up in rectal tissue. And people who have vaginas need to take PrEP consistently for 20 days before having sex. That’s because — you guessed it — that’s how long it takes to show up in vaginal tissue.
CAN I START AND STOP TAKING PREP?
Can you? Sure. But as soon you as you stop taking it, you put yourself at risk for HIV exposure. If you decide to stop and start, make sure you’re using a condom as well.
HOW DO I PAY FOR PREP?
PrEP is covered by Medicaid and by many private insurance companies. So if you have insurance, you’re probably all set. But if you don’t have insurance, no worries. There are other resources for paying for PrEP. Find out all of your options here.
This short video from the CDC breaks down what PrEP is.
- HRC has a short and sweet informational page: “Is PrEP Right for me?”
- Ask About PrEP is a campaign that focuses on POC!!
- Read this open letter about PrEP on Healthline.
- And how could we forget Todrick Hall’s Hakuna Truvada?
- If you’ve got 30 minutes, VICE created a very informative video on PrEP that brings up important questions about access to PrEP.