Pre-exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a daily pill that prevents HIV infection.
Finding A Provider
Truvada, the medication used for PrEP, requires a doctor’s prescription. There are a number of options to choose from:
- Primary Care Provider – If you have a good relationship with your primary care provider (PCP) and are comfortable talking to them about your sexual health, your PCP can prescribe PrEP.
- PCP unaware of PrEP or unwilling to prescribe? No insurance? Don’t worry. There are other options:
- Family Planning Clinic – Both Planned Parenthood and Maine Family Planning are informed PrEP providers. They can do all the testing required and prescribe. They offer sliding scale fees and can coordinate with your PCP if needed.
Paying For PrEP
Will my insurance cover it? The answer is: It depends!
- Insured – Coverage varies from company to company and plan to plan. Some companies cover it with a simple co-pay, some require that you meet you deductible first, while others offer limited or no coverage and ask the insured to pay out-of-pocket. Note: Truvada as PrEP is covered by MaineCare.
- PrEP can be very expensive, even with insurance. If you’re insured but can’t afford your medication, don’t lose hope! There are assistance programs to help:
Uninsured – No insurance? No problem! Assistance is available:
- Apothecary By Design – A local, specialty pharmacy that offers individualized support for patients. ABD’s team will clarify your coverage, and locate and apply for patient assistance programs (see below) on your behalf.
- Gilead, the makers of PrEP, offers the Gilead Advancing Access program, which provides financial support and/or assistance with co-pays.
- PAN and PAF – The Patient Access Network Foundation (PAN) and the Patient Access Foundation (PAF) both offer assistance paying for PrEP.
A PrEP prescription requires HIV and STD testing every three months but some insurance plans won’t cover this. This may be especially expensive for the uninsured. The providers below all offer affordable options and will work with your prescribing physician to make sure your records are updated.
Note: If your provider isn’t testing you, ask them why not?! The STI and HIV testing is very important for your continued health! Also make sure they are testing all sites you have sex with (anus, throat, penis, and/or vagina).
Still Need Help?
Don’t qualify for assistance? Can’t find a provider? Need a PrEP friendly practitioner referral?
- Frannie Peabody Center (southern Maine) – Comprehensive HIV/AIDS services
- Health Equity Alliance – HEAL (central/mid-coast Maine) – direct services and advocacy on behalf of Maine’s LGBTQ+ community, PLWHA, and people who use drugs.
- Granite State PrEP Connect & NH HIV Planning Group – comprehensive resource for info on PrEP and access in New Hampshire.
- Apothecary by Design – Specialty pharmacy in Portland, ME offering individualized support for patients.
- Project Inform – HIV and Hep C info and advocacy organization.
- Gilead – pharmaceutical manufacturer of Truvada (PrEP)
- PrEP Locator – online tool with lists of providers
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – PrEP basics
- PrEP Facts on Facebook – This is a closed facebook group, so you’ll have to request to join. It contains extensive FAQs and PrEP discussions and includes health preofessionals, HIV educators and patients.