You can get access to PrEP care medication through your healthcare provider, free clinics, telehealth services, PrEP research studies, and online pharmacies.
If you already have a personal physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant, ask if they know about PrEP and if they can prescribe it. If they are willing, great! If they need guidance about how to support you, they can contact the Clinicians Consultation Center’s PrEPline or consult the federal PrEP guidelines.
If your healthcare provider is unable to prescribe it, ask for a referral or find other health care providers through your health plan’s provider directory. Some health networks, such as Kaiser Permanente, have PrEP programs that can link you to the right staff. You can search the directory at PleasePrEPMe to find healthcare providers who take your insurance.
Many people use public clinics for their health care. Clinics (sexual health and others) run by your local or county health department or by Planned Parenthood may be able to prescribe PrEP. Other clinics, called Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), may also be able to prescribe PrEP.
These clinics usually offer services on a sliding scale based on income level. Some may also have staff who can help you apply to assistance programs that cover PrEP costs. Find these clinics through local health directories, by calling 211 for community services, or by searching FQHC sites.
If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can receive free PrEP services at San Francisco AIDS Foundation.
Telehealth services are like a virtual medical visit to get PrEP or other medications. These companies have clinicians who will talk to you online or by phone to assess your needs, order testing, and provide a prescription. They don’t provide free PrEP, but they can help you use your insurance to pay for it. Your PrEP may be delivered to your home address or picked up at a pharmacy, and different fees apply.
If you don’t feel like you can talk to your health care provider, or your health care provider isn’t prescribing PrEP, then telehealth may be an option. These services can also help if transportation is an issue or if you simply want more privacy with PrEP. Check these websites to confirm services, fees, and whether they’re available in your state: Mistr, Nurx, PlushCare, and Push Health.
PrEP research studies
If you live near a research site, you may be able to get PrEP through certain clinical studies. Being a study participant can also help contribute to community-based research. It also can give you a chance to get PrEP if you otherwise would not be able to afford it.
Being in a study may solve some immediate needs for getting PrEP, but weigh the pros and cons of enrolling in one. You’ll need to plan how you’ll transition to another source of PrEP by the end of the study. You may get some but not all your sexual health needs handled in the study.
To find studies in your area, consult local community organizations, universities, and health departments, or go to clinicaltrials.gov.
You can get PrEP through online pharmacies, which are legally operating companies outside the U.S. The FDA allows individuals to import up to 90 days of a medication for personal use.
These pharmacies offer generic versions of Truvada (Adco‑Emtevir, Ricovir‑EM, Tavin‑EM, Teno‑EM, Tenof‑EM, Tenvir‑EM)* as well as generic versions of the individual drugs, tenofovir DF and emtricitabine. These products have been tested independently and contain the same amounts of active drugs. The website I Want PrEP Now provides information on how to purchase generic Truvada safely.
Some online pharmacies require a prescription (and some a passport), while others don’t. Prices range from $25 to $75 for 30 pills. Some take credit cards, while others only use bank electronic fund transfers (EFTs), e-Checks, Western Union, Transferwise, and/or Bitcoin. Be aware of how long it may take for a supply of PrEP to ship to the U.S.
* A note about Generic Truvada: There are generic forms of Truvada available in the U.S. These generics contain the very same drugs as in Truvada, and may reduce PrEP costs. Generic versions of Descovy or tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) are not available.
PrEP Facts content written by Alan McCord and Reilly O’Neal. Medical review by Janessa Broussard, RN, MSN, AGNP-C, vice president of medical affairs at San Francisco AIDS Foundation.