PrEP: The Once Daily Pill to Prevent HIV

What Is Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)?

PrEP is a pill thatís taken daily to prevent an HIV negative individual from getting HIV.

PrEP is FDA approved and has been shown to prevent HIV infection through sex as well as among people who inject drugs.

PrEP is recommended for anyone who engages in high risk sexual behaviors with persons whose status is unknown, has an HIV+ partner, or uses injection drugs.

It DOES NOT protect against other sexually transmitted infections (STI) or pregnancy. It is NOT a replacement for condoms. It is NOT a cure for HIV.

How Does PrEP Work?

Taking PrEP, consistently and correctly, prevents the reproduction of HIV, if exposure occurs, so the virus cannot establish itself in a personís body.

PrEP contains the same medicines that people with HIV use to stay healthy. If you are exposed to HIV, these medicines can stop the virus from multiplying and spreading throughout your body. PrEP only works if you have enough medicine in your body, so you need to take PrEP every day.

Potential Side Effects

PrEP is generally very safe and well tolerated. Most people on PrEP report experiencing no side effects. Some, however, have reported side effects. Those side effects are listed below and ordered from most to least common:
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Weight loss
  • Slight decrease in bone mineral density (Returns to normal after the discontinuation of PrEP)
  • Slight decrease in Kidney function (Returns to normal after the discontinuation of PrEP)
For most people, these side effects went away on their own after the first few weeks of taking PrEP.

Can I Afford It?

Medicaid and most private health insurance plans will cover the cost of PrEP, including the medication, medical appointments and lab tests associated with PrEP. In Ohio, Medicaid completely covers PrEP with little to no out of pocket expense. If you have private health insurance, check with your plan to see if PrEP is covered and ask about the amount of any medication co-pay.

For people without access to health coverage, a medication assistance program is available from the drug manufacturer. To find out if you are eligible for the Gilead medication assistance program, visit or call 1-855-330-5479.

If you have health coverage but the amount of medication co-pay would present a financial challenge, you may be eligible for a Co-pay Coupon Card from the drug manufacturer. Visit or call 1-877-505-6986 for more information.

For additional information or assistance, Click Here for a handy reference chart courtesy of Project Inform.

Where Can I Get PrEP In Cleveland?

In Cleveland, the following locations prescribe PrEP:

J Glen Smith Health Center (Cleveland Department of Public Health)
11100 St. Clair Ave, Cleveland
Call 216-664-7095

T.F. McCafferty Health Center (Cleveland Department of Public Health)
4242 Lorain Ave, Cleveland
Call 216-664-6603

Care Alliance Health Center
1530 St. Clair Ave, Cleveland.
Call 216-781-6724 x261

Cleveland Clinic Foundation
9500 Euclid Ave, Cleveland.
Call 216-444-2273

Cuyahoga County Board of Health Title X Family Planning Clinic
5550 Venture Dr, Parma.
Contact Elle Heeg, MN, RN at 216-201-2077

Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland
12201 Euclid Ave, Cleveland.
Call Brenda Glass at 216-707-3452 or Marie Torres at 216-707-3430

MetroHealth Medical Center & The LGBT Pride Clinic
2500 MetroHealth Dr. or 4242 Lorain Avenue, Cleveland
Call 216-778-8305 or go to

University Hospitals Biomedical HIV Prevention Clinic
2061 Cornell Rd, Cleveland.
Call Carolyn Williams at 216-844-2649

Veterans Administration Hospital (Qualified Veterans)
Louis Stokes VA Medical Center, 10701 East Blvd, Cleveland.
Call Jan Briggs, NP-C at 216-791-3800 x4773 or Dr. Marion Skalweit at x4682

Additional Questions?
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