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Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

Florida Department of Health - Hillsborough County

Prevention is Key

Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is a daily pill that can prevent HIV.

University Area Community Health Center (UACHC) is now offering PrEP to help you prevent HIV.

What is PrEP?

PrEP is a once-daily pill taken orally to reduce the risk of HIV infection. The goal of PrEP is to prevent HIV from replicating in the body once exposed to the virus.

Currently, the only medication approved by the FDA for PrEP is Truvada®.

When combined with other prevention strategies including the consistent and correct use of condoms, PrEP is recommended as a prevention option for individuals at higher risk of HIV infection including adult men who have sex with men (MSM), and high-risk heterosexual adults such as those who use injection drugs, adults whose partners live with HIV, adults who engage in condomless anal sex, or adults who exchange sex as a form of income.

Why should I take PrEP?

Without a cure or vaccine currently available for HIV, prevention is key. When taken every day as prescribed by a health care provider, PrEP provides a high level of protection against HIV. It is even more effective when combined with condoms. In several studies, the risk of getting HIV infection was up to 92% lower for those taking PrEP consistently than for those not taking PrEP.

Who should take PrEP?

The CDC recommends PrEP be considered for those who are currently HIV-negative and at substantial risk for HIV. This includes:

  • Individuals in an ongoing relationship with an HIV-positive partner.
  • Individuals not in a mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who recently tested HIV-negative
  • Gay or bisexual men who have anal sex (insertive or receptive) without a condom or have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the past 6 months
  • Heterosexual men or women not regularly using condoms during sex with partners of unknown HIV status
  • Individuals who inject drugs, or have injected illicit drugs in the past 6 months and who have shared injection equipment or have been in drug treatment for injection drug use in the past 6 months
For heterosexual couples where one partner is living with HIV and the other is HIV-negative, PrEP is also one of several options to protect an HIV-negative partner during conception and pregnancy.

How can I get PrEP without insurance?

The State of Florida began an HIV Prevention initiative to expand PrEP access to all 67 counties. This allows new PrEP patients to get a 90 day supply of Truvada free from participating county health departments including the University Area Community Health Center (UACHC). Visit the University Area Community Health Center to get tested for STDs and HIV and ask the clinician about PrEP. Once your results come in confirming you are negative for HIV, the clinic will contact you to set up your first PrEP appointment where you will have initial lab work done and then be given Truvada medication.

How can I get PrEP with insurance?

Since PrEP is approved by the FDA, it is covered by some health insurance providers. It is also available through some government insurance programs like Medicaid. If you have insurance, visit preplocator.org to find a PrEP provider that accepts your insurance near you. At this time, the UACHC does not accept insurance for PrEP.
If you have insurance, Gilead, the maker of Truvada for PrEP has several patient assistance programs to also help pay the copay for PrEP medication. To learn more about their financial assistance programs, visit Gilead’s U.S. Patient Access.

Can I start and stop PrEP?

To effectively prevent HIV infection, PrEP must be taken every day and used with condoms each time before you are adequately protected.

What to expect during your PrEP visit

University Area Community Health Center (UACHC) is now offering PrEP to help you prevent HIV.

Before being considered for PrEP, you must be negative for HIV. First, you will come to the clinic to get tested for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV. This testing visit is $30.

Once your test results are in, the clinic will contact you to set up your first PrEP visit.

During your PrEP start-up visit, the nurse will counsel you on risk reduction to help you prevent HIV while on PrEP. You will also have base bloodwork done to ensure Truvada is safe for you to take. The nurse will then give you Truvada. Your first 90 day supply of medication is free of charge at UAC Health Center.

You will have follow-up visits with the nurse every 90 days for bloodwork at UACHC. Each visit will be $30. After your first 90 day supply of Truvada, Tampa Family Pharmacy will contact you to receive your next medications.