Explore Your Options: PrEP

EXPLORE YOUR OPTIONS: PrEP

Want to take control of your sexual health and wellness while staying happy and healthy? PrEP may be for you, and the District has everything you need! Below are frequently asked questions about PrEP and where you can find it today.

What is PrEP?

PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is an FDA-approved, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended daily prevention pill for HIV-negative people who are especially vulnerable to getting HIV. Taken daily, PrEP is over 90% effective at preventing HIV.  

How does PrEP work?

Currently, PrEP is available in pill form taken once a day. Routine HIV testing is required, and condom use is encouraged as PrEP does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. Typically, there is a one-month follow-up with your doctor after starting, then another at three months, and then six months after that.

Is PrEP safe? Are there side-effects?

PrEP is incredibly safe, and no significant health effects have been reported, but like with any drug, some side effects like nausea, dizziness, fatigue may occur. Consult your doctor if you experience any discomfort. 

You can read more on the CDC’s PrEP page here.

How do I know if PrEP is right for me?

PrEP allows you to stay happy and healthy while making your sex life safer. PrEP is for people who are HIV negative and vulnerable to getting HIV. To learn what sexual activities might make you vulnerable, visit the CDC Risk Reduction Tool here.

You might consider PrEP if:

  • You don’t always use condoms (external or internal) when you have anal or vaginal intercourse. “Always” means every time, not sometimes.
  • You don’t always ask your partner(s) to wear a condom.
  • You have 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 an injection drug user.
  • You’re HIV-negative and interested in PrEP.

Talk to your doctor to explore your options and see what fits you best.

If I take PrEP, can I stop using condoms when I have sex?

PrEP offers protection against HIV. Condoms offer protection against STIs (like syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and hepatitis) and also pregnancy. PrEP does not offer protection from STIs.

Can I take PrEP right before I have sex?

PrEP becomes effective by consistently taking PrEP for 7-14 days and 20 days for women. 

Can I start and stop taking PrEP?

PrEP must be taken every day to get the best protection from HIV.

Where can I learn more about PrEP?

You can learn more about PrEP through the following resources:
AVAC’s PrEP Watch
AIDS.GOV: PrEP
CDC’s Overview of PrEP
HRC’s Is PrEP Right For Me?

PrEP Explore Your Options Banner with white male, pacific islander male and african american male

Where can I get PrEP?

PrEP is available only with a prescription. You can find your closest provider using PrEPLocator.org or by visiting the DC Health and Wellness Center at 77 P St NE, Washington, DC 20002

PrEP Locator

Additionally, many local clinics are also enrolling DC residents in PrEP programs. Most insurance plans cover PrEP. Gilead, the maker of Truvada ® has a financial assistance program, which you can learn more about here.