PREP FOR TRANSGENDER 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. WHAT! (We know. It’s a big deal.)
Keep reading for more information about PrEP, the #PrEPPledge, and info to help you determine if PrEP is right for you.
WHAT TO KNOW
WHAT IS PREP?
PrEP stands for “pre-exposure prophylaxis,” but we like to think it stands for “PrEPared for sex.” Its brand name is Truvada. PrEP is a pill you take daily that lowers your chances of getting HIV through sex by more than 90%. And if you inject drugs, it lowers your chances by 70%.
IS PREP 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! PrEP is for anyone who wants peace of mind to not get HIV. DC Health estimates that more than 2,500 people in DC have started 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 or speak to your doctor or a clinician who is familiar with PrEP.
HOW DOES PREP WORK?
To start PrEP, you need to see a health care provider. You can talk with your own doctor or see one of the many community locations offering PrEP. At your first visit, your health care provider will take some tests to check that you do not have HIV and others to make sure you are healthy. Your health care provider will tell you how often you need to have visits. It takes about 7 to 21 days for the medication to work best. Good things come to those who wait!
WILL PREP AFFECT MY HORMONES OR HORMONE THERAPY/MEDICAL TRANSITION?
Good news! Currently, there is no evidence that PrEP will interfere with estrogen. But if you’re concerned, definitely have a conversation with your doctor.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS?
PrEP is very safe, and no significant health effects have been reported. But, like with any drug, you may have some unpleasant side effects, like nausea, dizziness and fatigue. You can read more about the potential side effects of PrEP on the CDC’s PrEP page.
Pledge to be PrEPared.
IF I START PREP, DOES THIS MEAN I HAVE TO TAKE IT FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE?
Nope! You only take it for as long as it makes sense for you and your sexual health. You get to decide how long and how often you want to take PrEP. Talk with your doctor about what makes the most sense for you.
HOW MUCH DOES PREP COST?
Most insurance plans cover PrEP. But if you don’t have insurance, there are PrEP assistance programs that will help you cover the cost. And the DC Health and Wellness Center is here to help with both cost and access.
WILL PEOPLE BE ABLE TO TELL THAT I’M ON PREP?
Nope! Because there are no visible side effects, no one will be able to tell you are on PrEP. Only you, your doctor, and those you choose to tell will know you are on PrEP.
WHERE CAN I GET PREP?
If you are uncomfortable or unsure about going directly to a doctor, there are trans-safe spaces in DC where you can learn more:
- Whitman-Walker Health
- Casa Ruby
- Trans Community – The DC Center for the LGBT Community
- Damien Ministries (Shug’s Place)