DC’S PrEP AWARENESS CAMPAIGN FOR ALL WOMEN
Have you heard of PrEP? It’s a safe, daily pill that prevents you from contracting HIV. Yup, you read that right: There’s now a pill that’s 90% effective at preventing HIV when it’s taken correctly. Not only is it an effective prevention tool and allows you complete control of your sexual health, it is discrete. No one has to know unless you tell them.
And #PrEPforHer is a movement to encourage women to learn more about healthy sex options, like PrEP. Now that we’ve caught your interest, here’s some information about PrEP to help you decide if it’s right for you.
WHAT TO KNOW
WHAT IS PREP?
PrEP stands for “pre-exposure prophylaxis.” Its brand name is 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%.
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 people have a higher chance of contracting HIV than others.
That health disparity is why we launched PrEP for Her. We want to make sure that women everywhere are empowered to take full control of their sexual health — and that includes having all the information about PrEP.
You may also want to 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 and then have a conversation with your health care provider.
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.
Her Life! Her Power!
DOES PREP PROTECT AGAINST OTHER STDS?
Nope — PrEP doesn’t protect against other STDs. Only condoms can do that — and we’ll get you them for free!
(It also doesn’t protect against pregnancy, which you probably figured out but we thought we’d include it, just in case.)
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 report nausea, dizziness, and fatigue after using PrEP. You can read more about the side effects of PrEP on the CDC’s PrEP page.
WHERE DO I GET PREP?
If you have a regular health care provider, your best bet is to talk to them and see about getting a prescription. But if you don’t have a regular health care provider — or you feel weird talking to them about this issue — use our PrEP map to find providers who prescribe PrEP in your area.
You can also visit The Women’s Collective, a women-centered community based organization in DC, to get connected with a PrEP provider:
The Women’s Collective
3230 Pennsylvania Ave. SE Suite 213
Washington, DC 20020
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.
CAN PREGNANT WOMEN TAKE PREP?
Yes. PrEP works for all women, including pregnant women. Studies suggest that it doesn’t increase the risk of miscarriage or birth defects.
OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES
- These are the facts you need about women and HIV/AIDS in the United States.
- A resource dedicated to PrEP and Women? Big thanks to The Well Project!
- There’s also a Black Women and PrEP toolkit? Well that’s cool.
- A challenging, but important read from the New York Times: Why Are So Many Black Women Dying of AIDS?