Starting PrEP

How can I find a PrEP provider?

PrEP is more than just a daily pill. People taking PrEP also receive comprehensive sexual health services from their health care provider. To be on PrEP, you must participate in regular check-ups with your provider, and both you and your provider need to feel safe talking about the kinds of sex you have and how it affects your health.

PrEP is a relatively new prevention tool so not all primary care providers know how to prescribe PrEP or follow and support patients taking PrEP. For a list of PrEP providers in or near your community, check our PrEP clinic finder.

If your health care provider is not familiar with PrEP but would like to learn more, tell them about the resources on this website.

Before I talk to my health care provider about PrEP, what do I need to know?

It helps to know what PrEP is and how it works. It also helps to have thought a bit about your sexual health needs and whether PrEP is a good fit for you. You may want to complete the PrEP self-assessment tool.

To help you decide whether PrEP is right for you, your health care provider will ask you questions about your sexuality and your sexual health. It helps if both you and your health care provider are comfortable talking about sex. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your provider about PrEP, use our PrEP clinic finder to find a health care provider who will be able to talk about your sexual health with you.

It’s also important to remember that PrEP is more than just taking a pill each day. You must see your health care provider every three months to check for any serious side effects on your kidneys or bones as well as any sexual health issues.

What will happen when I see my health care provider about PrEP?

Your health care provider will:

  • talk to you about your sexual health and risks, and discuss whether PrEP may be right for you
  • test you for HIV to confirm you are HIV-negative
  • test you for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) so they can be diagnosed and treated
  • run tests to make sure your kidneys are healthy before prescribing PrEP

Providers need all the results from these tests before they can prescribe PrEP. When they do prescribe, they will give you detailed information about how to take your pills.

PrEP works well to prevent HIV but it doesn’t protect you against other STIs or prevent pregnancy. Talk to your health care provider about all your sexual health needs and other ways they can support you.

What type of questions will a healthcare provider ask me if I am interested in PrEP?

A health care provider will need more information about your sexual health and what you currently do to keep yourself from getting HIV to help decide if PrEP is a good fit for you. For example, you might be asked questions about:

  • Your sexual partners: What are the gender(s) of your sexual partners? In the past twelve months how many sexual partners have you had? What do you know about your partners’ HIV status and sexual health?
  • Types of sex you’re having: In the past twelve months have you had vaginal/frontal sex? Anal sex? If you are having anal sex, are you usually topping or bottoming?
  • Your condom use: In the past six months have you used condoms every time you have had anal sex or vaginal/frontal sex? Are there situations in which you are less likely to use a condom?
  • Your sexual health history: Have you ever been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection? How long ago? When was your last HIV test?
  • Your substance use: Do you ever use injection drugs? If you use injection drugs, do you ever share needles with other people?