Two medications are approved to help prevent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, and both are prescribed by UHS.
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)
PrEP is approved for sexually active adults who are at ongoing high risk of HIV infection. It consists of a pill called Truvada® that is taken every day.
If you are considering taking PrEP, you’ll want to know:
Effectiveness: Studies show that PrEP effectively reduces risk of HIV -- up to 92% lower -- for those who took the medication consistently compared to those who did not take the medication. The medication is not immediately effective; it takes up to 20 days to develop protection. It is meant to be used with other prevention measures such as condoms. It does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy, and it is not a cure for HIV.
Duration of treatment: PrEP medication is intended to be taken every day.
Side effects: PrEP medication may cause side effects, which are usually mild.
Cost: Insurance coverage varies, so please determine your coverage through your health insurance company. Medication assistance programs may help pay for PrEP for patients who don't have insurance or are underinsured; please talk to your PrEP clinician about this if desired. Students' health service fee does not cover the cost of medication.
To consider PrEP, schedule an appointment at UHS. Tell the scheduler that you are interested in speaking with a clinician about PrEP for HIV prevention. You cannot have HIV to use PrEP, so testing would be performed to determine if you can receive it. If you are prescribed PrEP, you would need to return to your clinician every three months for HIV and other STI testing, monitoring of kidney and liver functions, prescription refills and other follow-up.
If you have an existing prescription for PrEP from elsewhere and instead want to have a UHS clinician prescribe it, or if you need follow-up care, please schedule an appointment.
For more information about PrEP:
- Project Inform offers four short videos on PrEP
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- San Francisco AIDS Foundation PrepFacts.org tailors information for men who have sex with men, women who have sex with men, and Spanish speakers
Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)
PEP is the use of medications after a single high-risk event, e.g. needlestick or unprotected sex with an HIV+ partner. It is intended to stop HIV from replicating and spreading throughout the body.
If you're taking PrEP and have a known exposure, it's recommended to take PEP.
If you are considering taking PEP, you’ll want to know:
Effectiveness: A study of health care workers showed that PEP reduced risk of infection by 87%.
Timing: PEP must be started as soon as possible to be effective, and always within 3 days (72 hours) of a possible exposure, but within 48 hours is better.
Duration of treatment: PEP medications are intended to be taken for 28 days.
Side effects: PEP medication may cause side effects, which are usually mild.
Costs: Insurance coverage varies, so please determine your coverage through your health insurance company. Medication assistance programs may help pay for PEP for patients who don't have insurance or are underinsured; please talk to your PEP clinician about this if desired. Students' health service fee does not cover the cost of medication.
To consider PEP, an in-person assessment is required. You can visit UHS or call UHS at 734-764-8320 and ask to talk to a nurse, who can recommend the best way to visit UHS or another health care provider.
For more information about PEP:
If you don’t know your HIV status:
- Consider yourself to be potentially infectious for 6 months
- Consider your options for HIV testing -- see HIV Antibody Testing
- Use a condom or other barrier for sex
- Do not donate blood or tissue
- Avoid getting pregnant or breastfeeding
- Avoid household contacts e.g. sharing razor