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Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a way for people who do not have HIV but who are at substantial risk of getting it to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. The pill (brand name Truvada) contains two medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine) that are used in combination with other medicines to treat HIV. When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection.

PrEP 101

  • PrEP is a way to prevent infection by taking one pill once a day.
  • Research has shown that PrEP can be up to 99% effective at preventing HIV when taken every day.
  • PrEP is not a cure for HIV and it cannot protect you from pregnancy and other sexually transmitted infections.
  • Calvert County Reproductive Health Center has a PrEP clinic that you can come to 410-535-5400 x332.
  • PrEP is covered by most insurance plans as well as Medicaid. There is also payment assistance programs available for people who are insured or uninsured. Your Health Department Nurse Case Manager can help you figure out insurance coverage and assistance programs.


Is Taking PrEP Difficult?
No. You will have some things to remember while using PrEP, including:

  • Taking one pill once a day, around the same time every day. The pill is called Truvada.
  • Getting regular testing for HIV and STI’s (every three months).
  • Having regular visits with your healthcare provider to get your labs checked and refill your medication.

Will I Have Side Effects?
You may have some minor stomach discomfort or headaches when you start PrEP, but this usually goes away after the first month Most people do not have any side effects while taking PrEP.

What Other Side Effects Occur Less Often?

  • Bone Density—Studies have shown that for a small number of people minor changes occur but there has been no increase in fractures documented and loss ultimately recovers after stopping Truvada.
  • Kidney Functions—People with current kidney disease cannot use PrEP. Changes during treatment seem to be mild and reversible. Your labs will be checked to monitor your kidney functions while on PrEP.
  • Long-Term Safety of PrEP in HIV—Seronegative individuals is unknown.

You Should Consider Taking PrEP If:

  • You have unprotected sex with someone ofunknown HIV status who is at risk for HIV (especially receptive anal or vaginal sex).
  • You are in an ongoing relationship with an HIV-positive partner.
  • You or your sex partner exchanges sex for money, housing, drugs, alcohol, or other needs.
  • You have injected drugs not prescribed by a clinician in the past 6 months and shared drug preparation equipment.
  • You have been in a Methodone, Buprenorphine, or Suboxone treatment program in the past 6 months and are still injecting.
  • You are a man or woman who does not regularly use condoms during vaginal or anal sex and has a partner or partners who are transgender, MSM, commercial sex worker or inject drugs.
  • You used PEP (post exposure prophylaxis) twice or more in the past year.
  • You have had a recent STI.

To schedule an appointment:

Phone: 410-535-5400 x332
Fax: 410-535-1955
E-mail: calvert.rhservices@maryland.gov

To learn more about PrEP visit: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/prep/

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