PrEP: Are You Protected from HIV?

VA offers pre-exposure medication to help protect you from infection with HIV

A Veteran and their partner enjoying an evening at home In the United States, about 40,000 people were newly infected with HIV in each of the past few years. There are options to reduce your risk of getting HIV. PrEP, or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, is one important tool that can help keep you protected.

What does HIV PrEP do?

PrEP is a pre-exposure treatment, which means that you should take it before you’re exposed to HIV. There are many ways to reduce the risk of HIV, like using condoms correctly or reducing your number of sex partners. PrEP doesn’t replace these preventative measures but can add protection when used with them.

Studies have shown that HIV PrEP is more than 90% effective at preventing HIV in people who took it regularly. But it isn’t effective for people who only take it sometimes. It’s important to use PrEP correctly, but it’s not 100% reliable. HIV PrEP doesn’t protect against other sexually transmitted infections.

Who can take HIV PrEP, and how?

Many people can benefit from the protection of taking PrEP. Sexual activity, sex partners, using needles to inject drugs, and other factors may increase your risk for HIV. If you have a risk factor for HIV, you should talk about PrEP with your VA health care team.

There are two oral medications and one injectable medication for PrEP, and they’re only available by prescription. All three options are available at VA, and your doctor can discuss which option would be best for you. If you get a PrEP prescription, be sure to learn how to take it correctly. Ask about side effects, using other protection methods at the same time, and what to do if you miss a dose.

Track your medications online

With a My HealtheVet Premium account, you can manage your VA Prescriptions online. Sign-in to refill your VA prescriptions, or track them when they’re shipped to your home. Be sure to review all options for managing your VA prescriptions on My HealtheVet.

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Created on October 26, 2022