How to get PrEP
Follow these steps to get on PrEP!
If you’ve decided PrEP may be an awesome addition in your HIV prevention toolbox, let’s walk through a road map for adding PrEP to your life! Click the boxes below for more information.
Remember: If you need help along the way, contact the Southwest Center’s “PrEP Guys” for assistance! Use the contact form at the bottom of this page or call 602.307.5330 today!
+ STEP 1: Get Tested!
The first step to taking PrEP is to get tested for HIV. PrEP is intended only for those who are HIV-negative as a way to prevent HIV infection and can not be used for HIV treatment alone. Taking PrEP while HIV positive could lead to drug resistance, which could have damaging effects.
Get tested today! Click here for our FREE HIV testing hours.
+ STEP 2: Talk with a Medical Provider
PrEP can be only prescribed by a health care provider, so talk to yours to find out if PrEP is the right HIV prevention strategy for you. It’s important for you to be completely open and honest with your provider about your HIV risks and actual condom usage. The Southwest Center’s PrEP Guys can help you locate and work with a health care provider.
What should I expect during my first appointment?
- You’ll chat about sex, drug use and how you use other HIV prevention methods.
- You’ll be tested for HIV, STDs, and Hepatitis B.
- You’ll have your liver & kidney functions tested.
- They may write a prescription for PrEP pending the results of the above-mentioned tests.
What costs should I expect for my first medical appointment? Insurance plans (including AHCCCS) will typically cover this visit, but there may be additional costs including co-pays and deductibles. Many clinics (including the Southwest Center) will offer free HIV/STI testing, sliding scale payments based on income, and cash payment assistance.
- Educate your Provider about PrEP with this guide from the CDC.
+ STEP 3: Fill Your Prescription
Any major or specialty pharmacy should be able to fill your prescription for PrEP. Once you pick your medicine up, begin taking it at the same time every day. Keep in mind that, for most people, it does not begin to work until 7 days after your first dose. PrEP is most-effective when you take it every day. If you miss a dose at your regular time and remember it the same day, take it as soon as you remember. However, if you remember close to the time of your next dose, it’s not necessary to take a double dose.
How do I pay for PrEP?
The good news is that PrEP is covered by most insurance programs (including AHCCCS). However, if you don’t have insurance, or even if you want help to cover co-pays or deductibles, there are several programs to assist you.
If you have insurance, The Gilead Co-Pay Card may be able to fully cover your co-pays and deductibles. For more information, visit www.GileadCoPay.com or call 1-877-505-6986 or ask The Southwest Center’s PrEP Guys for help. You’ll answer a few questions to confirm eligibility (some restrictions apply and the program is subject to change at any time). Depending on your insurance plans co-pay or deductible, you may be able to get PrEP at no cost when you add Gilead’s Co-pay Coupon Card to your prescription at the pharmacy.
If you don’t have insurance, there are several programs to help you pay for PrEP:
Gilead’s Medication Assistance Program (print and take this form to your first medical appointment)
Medicare and Medicaid Assistance 1-877-267-2323
Veterans Affairs (VA) 1-877-222-8387
+ STEP 4: Establish a Daily Routine
Once you’ve picked-up your PrEP prescription, you’ll need to create a daily routine to make sure you take the pill once a day. Keep it next to your toothbrush, take it with a meal or take it before bed – find a routine that works for you and stick with it.
+ STEP 5: Re-Testing, Refills & Follow-Ups
Your health care provider will need to see you every 3 months for an HIV test for you to obtain a prescription refill. Every 6 months, your provider will additionally re-test you for STIs and test your kidney functions.