How to Start PrEP: A Simplified Process

Starting a PrEP prescription can feel like a daunting process. There are many steps that need to come before you are actually able to take your first dose- including taking an HIV test and making an appointment to consult with a healthcare provider. Problems can arise- you may not have time to go see your healthcare provider, maybe you struggle with finding an HIV test kit, or maybe your insurance will not help cover the prescription. Fortunately, there are ways to simplify the process. 

First…what is PrEP? 

PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis, and it is a safe and reliable way to prevent the spread of HIV — it is up to 99% effective when taken as prescribed. PrEP is for those who are HIV negative, and have partners who are HIV positive, or partners who have an unknown HIV status. PrEP is a prescription pill that must be taken daily in order to offer the most protection.

Reducing HIV Starts at Home 

Despite knowing how to reduce the spread of HIV, a staggering 38,000 Americans become HIV positive every year. The key to eliminating HIV is by knowing your HIV status. Many people believe they do not have access to testing, or they are unwilling to get tested, which means they are risking their lives without even knowing it. 1 out of 7 Americans with the virus do not know they carry it, and half of teens and young adults are also not aware they are HIV positive- these statistics show HIV is continuing to be passed along.  

The number of new HIV infections in America is alarming, but it can be reduced by making sure that all those who are at risk get tested. We know there can be anxieties that come up with testing, and that is why we at TIN Rx provide free at-home testing kits. HIV testing is done by looking for HIV antibodies in either the blood or saliva. Our testing kits are mailed directly to your door with clear instructions on how to use them and send them back to us. Once your results come back negative, you are able to take the next step to start your PrEP prescription.

What Does a PrEP Prescription look like? 

PrEP is a daily medication, so it is important to hold yourself accountable when it comes to staying on schedule. If taken every day, PrEP is 99% effective at preventing HIV. In order to remember to take your prescription, we recommend creating reminders on your phone, setting alarms, or keeping your prescription bottle in sight. It is crucial to stay motivated to stay safe.  

While on PrEP, you will want to make sure to check-in with your healthcare provider every three months to re-test for HIV and make sure your kidneys are functioning properly.  

What Should I Consider? 

There are a few things to consider before beginning your PrEP prescription. It’s important to remember it is okay to open up and seek support. In the event that you are feeling lost or confused about this process, seek out a trusted friend for support. Whether it’s someone in your family who has been there before or an experienced mentor – any person can be helpful when navigating through prescription options and their associated processes. And, of course, our team at TIN Rx would love nothing more than to help provide clarity and advice- so do not hesitate to reach out if assistance is needed!  

Something else to consider about a PrEP prescription is that while it protects against HIV, it does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections, or STIs. Condom use is still recommended to protect the sexual health of yourself and your partners. 

It is also important to stay motivated about your sexual health and keep planning ahead. Scheduling your check-ins and testing ahead of time can help keep your prescription organized and simple. 

Ready to start? 

The future of HIV prevention is now. A PrEP regimen can transform the way we protect ourselves from this disease and it has never been easier than right now to get started with your prescription for this life-saving medication. It may take time and effort to prioritize your sexual health and safety, but it is definitely worth it. Starting a PrEP prescription protects you, but also any partner of yours as well.  

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