Houston Health Department

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)


What is PrEP?

Truvada® as PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a pill taken once daily to prevent HIV infection. When used consistently, HIV infection from sex is reduced by more than 90%. Currently, Truvada® is the only medication approved by the FDA for use as PrEP.

Do you have any questions about PrEP?

Email us at prep@houstontx.gov

How does Truvada® as PrEP work?

Who Should Use Truvada® as PrEP?

Truvada® as PrEP is for HIV-negative people who are at risk for getting HIV from sex or injection drug use.

  • Do you have condomless sex?
  • Do you have a high number of sexual partners?
  • Are you African American or Latino?
  • Do you have a sexual partner who is living with HIV?
  • Have you had a recent STI diagnosis?
  • Are you a transgender woman?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to consider taking of Truvada® as PrEP.

Start the conversation. Talk to your partner, friends, and consult with your health care provider.

Truvada® as PrEP should not be prescribed to individuals who are living with HIV; display renal insufficiency; and/or indicate that they are not ready to adhere to a regimen of oral Truvada® taken once daily in conjunction with periodic lab work and tests.

Is Truvada® as PrEP Safe?

Truvada® can cause minor side effects in some people, but, typically, these subside during the first month of taking Truvada® as PrEP. Common side effects include: upset stomach, headache, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Some people will experience more serious side effects including loss of bone density (1 in 100), or kidney issues (1 in 200). If you are taking Truvada®, tell your provider about any side effects that are severe, or do not go away within a month.

If I Take Truvada® as PrEP, Can I Stop Using Condoms?

You should not stop using condoms if you are taking Truvada® as PrEP. Truvada® helps protect you against HIV. It does not offer protection against other STDs or pregnancy. While taking Truvada® as PrEP daily can significantly reduce your risk of HIV infection, using condoms in conjunction with PrEP will reduce your risk even further.

How Effective is Truvada® as PrEP?

Studies have shown that Truvada® as PrEP reduces the risk of HIV infection from sex by more than 90% and from injection drug use by 70% when used consistently.

Adherence is Key!

You must be willing and able to follow a regimen of oral Truvada® taken once daily. In addition, you will need to schedule provider visits every 3 - 4 months for lab work, and HIV testing.

Is There Financial Assistance Available If I Want To Take Truvada® as PrEP?

There are several options if you need financial assistance for Truvada®. Talk to your provider for more information. Below are just a few options.

For patients who have Insurance:

If patient has a high deductibles or co-pays, then the Gilead Advancing Access® co-pay coupon card can assist with covering up to $3,600/year for medication. No income eligibility requirement. Visit the Gilead Advancing Access® program or call 800-226-2056.

If patient makes less than 400% FPL, then the Patient Advocate Foundation Co-Pay Relief Program can assist with covering up to $7,500/year for medication. Visit Patient Advocate Foundation Co-Pay Relief or call 800-226-2056.

If patient makes less than 500% FPL, then the Patient Assistance Network Foundation can assist with covering up to $7,500/year for medication. As of December 2016, they were not accepting or processing new applications. Visit the Patient Assistance Network Foundation or call 866-316-7263 to check availability.

For patients who do Not Have Insurance

(Patients must meet eligibility criteria for financial assistance. These programs are subject to change at any time)

If patient has annual income of less than 500% FPL, then they might qualify for the Gilead’s Advancing Access® program to receive medication, free of cost. Visit the Gilead Advancing Access® program or call 888-477-2669.

The Partnership for Prescription Assistance can assist uninsured individuals with getting medication at no or little cost. Visit Partnership for Prescription Assistance or call 888-477-2669.

For more information, visit the Fair Pricing Coalition

If you decide that Truvada® as PrEP is right for you?

Talk to your health care provider and get informed on all the facts. Working together with your provider is the best defense against HIV.

PrEP Provider Information