What is Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)?
PrEP is a powerful HIV prevention tool and can be combined with condoms and other prevention methods to provide even greater protection than when used alone. But people who use PrEP must commit to taking the drug every day and seeing their health care provider for follow-up every 3 months.
For more information on PrEP services offered through the Coastal Health District, please call 912-414-4962. There is also a PrEP locator at the bottom of this page.
If you think you may be at high risk for HIV, you can also talk to your healthcare provider about whether PrEP is right for you.
PrEP is not for everyone. Federal guidelines recommend that PrEP be considered for people who are HIV-negative and at very high risk for HIV infection.
PrEP involves taking medication daily and regular visits to a health care provider. It’s also important to remember that taking PrEP will not prevent you from getting syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, or other sexually transmitted diseases. Similarly, for those taking PrEP because of injection drug use risks, PrEP will not protect you from getting hepatitis C, skin, or heart infections.
When taken every day, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk by more than 90%. PrEP is much less effective if it is not taken consistently. PrEP can be even more effective if it is combined with other ways to prevent new HIV infections like condom use, drug abuse treatment, and treatment for people living with HIV to reduce the chance of passing the virus to others.
Some people in clinical studies of PrEP had early side effects such as an upset stomach or loss of appetite, but these were mild and usually went away within the first month. Some people also had a mild headache. No serious side effects were observed. If you are on PrEP, you should tell your healthcare provider if these or other symptoms become severe or do not go away.