What is PrEP?
PrEP stands for Pre-exposure prophylaxis. Health care providers prescribe PrEP medication to prevent the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in at-risk populations.
HIV is a highly transmissible viral infection that is spread through contact with bodily fluids from an infected person. It is most commonly spread through unprotected vaginal and anal sex and sharing needles for injectable drugs. Once a person is infected, HIV hides inside white blood cells and replicates itself. This replication process kills off white blood cells crucial to the immune system's functioning.
PrEP medications are used to prevent the spread of HIV in populations that are at risk for contracting this disease.
The National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) has identified the following groups as being “at-risk” for contracting HIV:
- Gay, bisexual, and men who have sex with other men
- Men who identify as Black, Latine, American Indian/Alaska Native
- Black women
- Transgender women
- People who use injectable drugs
- Young people between 13-24 years of age