PrEP for HIV Prevention in New Jersey
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis)
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is an extremely effective way to help prevent HIV infection. It’s a prescription pill that men take once daily to lower their chances of getting HIV.
You should consider a PrEP prescription if you are HIV-negative and at risk for contracting HIV. At-risk individuals include men who have sex with men and intravenous drug users.
If you are interested in a prescription, Dr. Philip Cheng at Peak Men’s Health is now prescribing PrEP out of our Basking Ridge, Jersey City, Englewood, and Marlton locations.
Types of PrEP Medication
The most common PrEP brands are Truvada and Descovy. These medications are equally effective and are approved by the FDA for the prevention of HIV infection.
Truvada is a combination of two different drugs: emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. Truvada was the first medication to be approved for PrEP. The prescription is taken daily and is typically covered by insurance.
Descovy is a combination of two different drugs: emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide. The FDA approved the medication in 2016 as a treatment for HIV infection. Like Truvada, Descovy is taken once a day and is sometimes covered by insurance.
PrEP Prescription FAQs
For receptive anal intercourse, PrEP reaches maximum protection from HIV at about 7 days of daily use. When taken as prescribed, PrEP reduces the risk of contracting HIV by up to 99%.
There is some debate over the effectiveness of PrEP compared to condoms. The debate is because PrEP is most effective when taken daily. It may not be as effective if you are only taking it sporadically. So, if you’re prone to forgetting to take your medications, then using a condom while on PrEP may further decrease your risk.
In order to get a PrEP prescription, you must schedule a new patient appointment with one of our providers. At that appointment, your doctor will review your history and perform some routine lab work: HIV test, STI testing, and kidney and liver tests. It is required that you get bloodwork every three months in order to get refills of your prescription.
PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis, while PEP stands for post-exposure prophylaxis.
PrEP is a daily prescription to prevent you from becoming infected with HIV. PEP is to help prevent HIV after exposure to HIV for individuals who are not on PrEP. PEP is a 28-day course of medication you should take as soon as possible after exposure to HIV.
Yes, PrEP is covered by all insurance plans in New Jersey (and across the country). New Jersey’s Medicaid program, NJ FamilyCare, covers the costs of both Truvada and HIV testing for eligible individuals.
If you are at risk of HIV exposure, you should start taking PrEP immediately. The medication is most effective when taken daily and after 7-10 days from when you begin taking the drug. If you are not regularly exposed to high-risk situations, PrEP may not be necessary for you. Speak with your doctor about your specific situation to determine whether PrEP is right for you.
PrEP Side Effects
The most common side effects of PrEP are usually mild, but be sure to speak with your provider if you’re experiencing any side effects.
Side effects of Truvada include the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Worsening of hepatitis B infection
- Kidney problems
- Liver problems
- Lactic acidosis
- Bone problems
Side effects of Descovy include the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Kidney problems