What is PrEP?
PrEP (or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) involves the use of anti-HIV medications to help prevent individuals who are HIV negative from becoming infected. PrEP is approved by the FDA and has been shown to be safe and effective at preventing HIV infection.
Is PreP right for me?
PrEP may benefit an individual who is HIV-negative and if ANY of the following apply:
You have recently had unprotected:
- Anal sex
- Sex with a partner with a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
Your sexual partners include any of the following:
- HIV-positive partners, or partners with unknown HIV status
- Multiple partners, partners with multiple partners
- Bisexual or gay men
- People who inject drugs
You inject drugs and:
- Share needles or equipment to inject drugs
- Recently went to a drug treatment program
- Are at risk for getting HIV from sex
How does PrEP work?
PrEP is a combination of two HIV medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine), known from its brand name Truvada® (pronounced tru vá duh), which are taken daily via one oral medication. Daily PrEP use can lower the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90% and from injection drug use by more than 70% (citation).
It is important to continue using condoms while on PrEP, since PrEP does not give an individual any protection against other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), like gonorrhea and chlamydia. Also, while PrEP can significantly reduce an individual’s risk of HIV infection if taken daily, additional strategies can be combined with PrEp, like condom use, to reduce further risk. If used correctly every time an individual engages in sexual activity, condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV and some STIs transmitted through body fluids, like gonorrhea and chlamydia. However, condoms provide less protection against STIs spread through skin-to-skin contact, like human papillomavirus or HPV (genital warts), genital herpes, and syphilis.
How do I get PrEP?
PrEP is prescribed by a health care provider. Individuals must take PrEP daily for it to work as directed. Individuals must also take an HIV test before beginning PrEP to verify they are HIV negative. Testing every 3 months while taking PrEP will also be necessary, so individuals will need to visit their health care provider for regular follow-ups. In Maryland, there are many options to cover the costs of Truvada; this includes the majority of insurance plans, including plans obtained through Maryland Healthcare Exchange. With no healthcare insurance the drug can cost between $8,000 and $14,000 per year, so check with your insurance provider to see if PrEP is covered. You will also have to also think about the cost of following up with your healthcare provider for blood work at least four times per year. Depending on your out of pocket deductible (the amount you are required to pay), the costs of your visits may vary widely. It is important to discuss your options for health coverage with your healthcare team. There are also financial assistance programs to help offset the cost of PrEP- more information can be found here.
A few examples of PrEP providers within the Central MD region
PrEP Locator has a searchable database of PrEP providers, including places to get PrEP if you are uninsured, and places to get assistance in access PrEP.
Total Healthcare – Westside Center
2449 W. Frederick Avenue Baltimore, MD 21217
Total Healthcare – Open Gates Health Center
1111 Washington Boulevard Baltimore, MD 21230
Total Healthcare – Mondawmin Mall
2401 Liberty Heights Avenue Suite 111-113 Baltimore, MD 21215
BCHD Druid STD Clinic PREP Initiative
1515 W. North Ave Baltimore, MD 21217
Star Track – University of Maryland Adolescent Clinic (28 and Younger)
120 Penn Street Baltimore, MD 21201
University of Maryland Emergency Department
22 South Greene Street Baltimore, MD 21201
Total Healthcare, Inc. – Division Health Center
1501 Division Street Baltimore, MD 21217
Men and Family Health – Park Heights – Minka Cromer-Carter CRNP
4151 Park Heights Avenue Baltimore, MD 21215
Total Healthcare – Mt. Royal Center
922 W. North Avenue Baltimore, MD 21217
Reisterstown Road Plaza
4120 Patterson Avenue Baltimore, MD 21215
University of Maryland Center for Infectious Disease
300 Armory Place 1st Floor Baltimore, MD 21201
Chase Brexton Health Services POWER Clinic – Mount Vernon
1111 North Charles Street Baltimore, MD 21201
410-837-2050 ext. 8829
Kjell Wiberg, MD – Sinai Hospital of Baltimore
2435 West Belvedere Avenue Hoffberger Building Suite 17 Baltimore, MD 21215
Dr. Prashanth Santhekadur at Infectious Disease Associates
2850 North Ridge Rd. Suite 102 Ellicott City, MD 21043
BCHD Eastern STD Clinic PREP Initiative
620 N. Caroline St. Baltimore, MD 21205
Medstar Union Memorial Hospital
200 E. 33rd Street Suite 512 Baltimore, MD 21218
Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center, Women’s Health Clinic
601 N. Caroline Street 6th Floor Baltimore, MD 21287
Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center Infectious Disease
601 N. Caroline St Baltimore, MD 21287
Center for Child and Adolescent Health at Johns Hopkins Harriet Lane Clinic
200 N. Wolfe St. Rubenstein Child Health Suite 3145 Baltimore, MD 21287
PrEPisforYouth at Johns Hopkins Harriet Lane
200 North Wolfe Street Baltimore, MD 21287
Total Healthcare – Kirk Center
2400 Kirk Avenue Baltimore, MD 21218 410-383-8300
Johns Hopkins University Bartlett Practice
600 N. Wolfe Street Carnegie 346 Baltimore, MD 21287 443-326-5759
Johns Hopkins Moore Clinic
1800 Orleans Street Carnegie 346 Baltimore, MD
Chase Brexton – Randallstown Center
3510 Brenbrook Drive Randallstown, MD 21133
Chase Brexton – Columbia Center
5500 Knoll North Drive Suite 370 Columbia, MD 21045
Chase Brexton – Anne Arundel County Center
200 Hospital Drive Suite 300 Glen Burnie, MD 21061 410-837-2050
What are people’s experiences taking PrEP?
Watch more patient videos here.