What is HIV PrEP and Who is it Right For?

Have you ever heard of HIV PrEP?

PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis is medicine people at risk for HIV take to prevent getting HIV from sex or injection drug use.  PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken as prescribed.  All individuals who are sexually active or inject drugs should determine if PrEP is right for them.

HIV PrEP can be prescribed to anyone who is at risk and wants to reduce their risk of acquiring HIV.  PrEP might be right for you if you test negative for HIV and you have a sexual partner with HIV, do not consistently use condoms or have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the past 6 months.  If you inject drugs and share needles, syringes or other injection equipment, PrEP may be right for you.  There are two FDA-approved oral medications available.  These oral medications are taken daily.  A long-acting injectable form of PrEP was just approved in December 2021 by the FDA.  It is administered by a health care provider every two months.  Most insurance plans and state Medicaid programs cover PrEP.  There are programs that provide PrEP for free or at a reduced cost.  More information on these programs can be found by going to CDC website.

Did you know that only about 1 out of 8 individuals in North Dakota who need PrEP are using PrEP?

In North Dakota, an estimated only 13.2%1 of individuals who need PrEP are prescribed PrEP. In North Dakota’s HIV testing program, only about 25% of those tested for HIV reported having ever heard of HIV PrEP in 2020.  Increasing the number of individuals who know about PrEP and are prescribed PrEP are strategies that will reduce HIV transmission in communities and help reduce HIV stigma in communities.  PrEP is one of the key components of the federal Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. plan that aims to end the HIV epidemic in the U.S. by 2030.

Click here to learn more about PrEP. This website also has a locator tool that can help you find a PrEP provider if you are interested in taking PrEP.


1. America’s HIV Epidemic Analysis Dashboard. Accessed on January 5, 2022 from https://ahead.hiv.gov/locations/north-dakota.