East Bay Getting to Zero

How to get PrEP:

  1. Choose how you want to get PrEP:

2. Tell them you want to start PrEP when you make the appointment so you can get an HIV test and PrEP prescription on the same day.

  • At the visit, the provider will ask:
    • If you might have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours. (In that case, you would need PEP instead (see below).
    • If you have had flu-like symptoms in the past 4-6 weeks (which can actually be HIV symptoms if you were exposed to HIV during that time.)
    • If you have ever been told that you have kidney problems or hepatitis b infection. (You can still get PrEP, but they will need more information first.)
  • The provider will offer a rapid HIV test. It will be with a fingerstick or a mouth swab test.
HIV fingerstick rapid test (photo from Wikimedia Commons)
HIV oral or mouth swab rapid test (photo by Nitika Pant Pai)

3. Get your PrEP! 

  • If the HIV test is negative and your provider doesn’t have any medical concerns, you can get your PrEP that day! They might write you a prescription to get from a pharmacy or give you a bottle of PrEP to take home with you.
  • Choose how you want to take PrEP. Your prescription will be for 30 pills to last 30 days. 
    • If anal sex is the only way you might get exposed to HIV, you have a few options: 
      • Get F/TDF 
        • Start taking one pill a day every day – you will be protected from HIV after 7 days.
        • OR start with 2 pills on the first day, then one pill every day – you will be protected in 24 hours.
        • OR use 2-1-1 dosing only when you are going to have sex – you will be protected between 2-24 hours before you have sex as long as you remember your doses after sex too!
      • Get F/TAF
        • Start taking one pill a day every day – you will be protected from HIV after 7 days.
  • If you have vaginal/front hole sex or share injection equipment, you will need to take F/TDF every day. 

4. Get the rest of your PrEP labs done. There are a few other tests your provider will order, and you will need to get them done within about 7 days of your visit to make sure you are ok to continue taking PrEP.

5. Make a plan for getting refills. Here are some options:

  • Pick up from a pharmacy.
  • Pick it up from your clinic.
  • Get it delivered by mail (ask your pharmacy if they offer this).
  • Get if delivered by a driver (check out Alto Pharmacy for this option).

6. Make a plan for follow up visits. Talk with your provider about when you should come back for another appointment (usually in 1-3 months); ask about doing a video/phone visit in the future if that’s easier for you. 

Coming soon: get a Free PrEP lab kit sent to your home through Take Me Home.

How to get PEP:

If you have been exposed to HIV through sex or needles in the past 3 days, you can get a medication to prevent getting HIV. This is urgent (the sooner, the better!) so find the nearest available PEP provider and follow these steps:

  1. Click here to find a PEP provider and select or search for “pep.”
  2. Call the number directly (to avoid any delays) and say “I might have been exposed to HIV and I am looking for PEP.”
  3. Follow their directions for an appointment – if they can’t get you an appointment within 3 days of when you were exposed, go to the nearest emergency room instead. 
  4. Get an HIV test, PEP labs, and prescription for PEP on the same day.
  5. Get your PEP medications and start taking them right away. You will need to take PEP every day for 28 days to get full protection.
  6. Talk about a plan for starting PrEP as soon as you finish PEP.
  7. Go to your follow up visit after you finished PEP to recheck labs and start PrEP.