PrEP Facts: Who can take PrEP?
Both Truvada and Descovy can be used by anyone who is HIV negative and weighs at least 77 pounds.
June 1, 2021 < 1 Minute Read
PrEP Facts: ¿Para quién es PrEP? [Spanish]
PrEP works for women, men, young people, transgender and non-binary people, people of all gender identities and sexual orientations, and people who inject drugs. You might decide to use PrEP as your sole HIV prevention method, or you might use PrEP along with condoms or other tools as an extra layer of protection.
PrEP may not be the right fit for everyone. It means more medical visits, more attention to taking pills, and/or making sure you receive your PrEP injections on time. If you’re satisfied with the prevention method(s) you’re currently using, taking PrEP may not be necessary. That’s OK, because PrEP is one of many ways you can lower your chance of HIV infection.
If you think PrEP might be right for you but aren’t sure how it will fit your life, you can try it out for a short time. If you like it, great! If you decide it’s not the right fit for you, you can safely stop with guidance from your healthcare provider. (And you can always restart PrEP if you change your mind.)
Do you frequently have sex without condoms?
Do you have sex or share needles with someone whose HIV status you don’t know?
Do you have sex or share needles with someone in a city or region where lots of people are living with HIV?
Are you in a relationship with someone who has HIV? Does your partner have an unknown or detectable viral load?
Have you had STIs in your butt, vagina or front hole in the past six months?
Do you have sex for money or for other things like food or housing?
Have you used post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) more than once in the past year?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, PrEP is one of many ways you can lower your chance of HIV infection.
Can I take PrEP if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?
Truvada and Descovy are considered safe to use while trying to conceive with a partner living with HIV. A supportive clinician can help you understand how to use PrEP before and during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Studies of Truvada in pregnant or breastfeeding women did not see increases in birth defects, growth problems, pre-term birth, or miscarriage. Much less is known about how Descovy and cabotegravir (the medication in Apretude) affects a developing fetus or nursing infant.
Also, if the partner living with HIV has a stable undetectable viral load, then PrEP may not be necessary. Again, discuss this with your health care provider before embarking on your conception journey.
Can people of any age take PrEP?
PrEP does not have an age restriction, but it does have a weight restriction: Both Truvada and Descovy can be used by anyone who weighs at least 77 pounds. People as young as 15 have been included in PrEP studies.
Apretude, the long-acting injectable cabotegravir form of PrEP, is safe and effective for young people over age 12 who weigh at least 77 pounds.
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.