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Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

What is pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)?
PrEP is a new HIV prevention method that involves HIV negative people taking anti-HIV medications daily to help prevent HIV infection. Several studies have shown that PrEP can reduce the risk of becoming HIV-infected when taken as part of a package of prevention services. One of these studies showed that PrEP was safe and effective for HIV prevention in gay and bi men and transwomen in San Francisco and other parts of the world.

What’s in the pill?
Truvada contains two medications, tenofovir and emtricitibine. Truvada is commonly used to treat HIV positive individuals in combination with other anti-HIV medications. Truvada was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July 2012 for the prevention of HIV-infection in HIV-negative men and women.

Is it safe?
From what we know so far, Truvada for PrEP is safe and well tolerated.

About 1 in 10 people in the PrEP studies reported that they had headache, stomach pain, or weight loss when they first started taking Truvada. In most people, these side effects improved or went away after they’d been taking the Truvada for a few weeks.

A small number of people had a slight decrease in kidney function that normalized when they stopped the medication. Small losses of bone density (thickness) have been seen in people taking Truvada. These changes have not been associated with an increase in fractures in these studies.

Is PrEP being offered at San Francisco City Clinic?
PrEP is not currently being offered at San Francisco City Clinic. We completed enrollment for our PrEP demonstration project in November 2013. We are working on setting up a PrEP program at the clinic, and will update this site with more information as soon as it is available. City Clinic DOES offer post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).

Where I can get PrEP?
Talk to your doctor about whether Truvada may be right for you.

  • Truvada for PrEP is covered by many private insurance plans and by Medical. California residents who do not have private insurance should contact Covered California for information on signing up for insurance or Medical. See the Covered California website for more info:
  • If you are currently uninsured or have a high copay for Truvada, you may be eligible to get Truvada for PrEP through a patient assistance program. More information is available at:

For more information about PrEP:

Last modified on Thursday, February 27, 2014.
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