Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

What is Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)?

PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a medicine that reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex or injection drug use. When taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV.

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. People who use PrEP must commit to taking the medication as prescribed and seeing their healthcare provider for follow-up every 3 months.

How effective is PrEP?

PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV.

  • PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken as prescribed.
  • Although there is less information about how effective PrEP pills are among people who inject drugs, we know that PrEP pills reduce the risk of getting HIV by at least 74% when taken as prescribed.
  • PrEP is less effective when not taken as prescribed.

Remember: PrEP will not prevent you from contracting other sexually transmitted infections. Similarly, for those taking PrEP because of injection drug use risks, PrEP will not protect you from getting hepatitis C, skin infections, or heart infections.

Is PrEP right for me?

PrEP is for everyone! PrEP may benefit you if you test negative for HIV and ANY of the following apply to you:

    • you have had anal or vaginal sex in the past 6 months, and you:
      • have a sexual partner with HIV (especially if the partner has an unknown or detectable viral load), or
      • have not consistently used a condom, or
      • have been diagnosed with an STD in the past 6 months.


    • you inject drugs and
      • have an injection partner with HIV, or
      • share needles, syringes, or other injection equipment.


    • you’ve been prescribed PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) and you
      • report continued risk behavior or
      • have used multiple courses of PEP

You may choose to take PrEP even if the behaviors above don’t apply to you.

Is PrEP safe?

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.

Where can I get PrEP?

PrEP is currently available at health departments in Bulloch, Coffee, Toombs, Ware, and Wayne counties. For more information on PrEP services offered through the Southeast Health District, please call 1(855)473-4374. 

More Information on PrEP

STI and HIV Testing