Frannie Peabody Center Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Navigation

What is Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)?

      • Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is a new way of preventing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). If someone is HIV negative, but is at high risk of getting HIV, they can significantly reduce their risk by taking a daily medication.
      • PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV:
        • Studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by 99% when taken daily.
        • Among people who inject drugs, studies suggest PrEP reduces the risk by at least 74% when taken daily.
      • There are two medicines used for PrEP: Truvada and Descovy.
      • PrEP is much less effective if it is not taken consistently.

Finding a Provider

      • PrEP requires a doctor’s prescription, so to start you will need to find a provider willing to prescribe. Not all providers know about PrEP so they may not feel comfortable prescribing it. Not to worry. There are a number of options for accessing PrEP:
        • 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, then your PCP may be an option for PrEP. PrEP does not require an infectious disease specialist. Any PCP can prescribe PrEP.
        • No PCP? Don’t want to go through your PCP? PCP not willing to prescribe? Don’t have a PCP? – Don’t worry! See our Clinical Service Providers section for alternatives to a PCP, or if you need help with a referral contact us at 207.749.6818.

STI Testing

      • A PrEP prescription requires lab testing for HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and other health monitoring every three months.
      • What to Test for?
        • HIV and STI Testing – Providers will screen for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and other STIs as appropriate. Make sure providers swab all areas used during sex.
        • Other Tests – Your doctor may order other tests, such as renal or kidney function tests, and tests for Hepatitis B.
        • Paying for Testing – Insurance may cover the costs of PrEP, but doesn’t always cover the lab tests that go along with it. If that is the case, it might make sense to do that testing elsewhere. Contact us for a low cost/no cost STI testing referral or see our Clinical Service Providers section.

Insurance Coverage

      • PrEP is commonly covered by health insurance, including MaineCare, or through the following options:
        • Insured – Co-pays or deductibles may make PrEP seem unaffordable. However, there are numerous assistance programs available that can help cover out-of-pocket costs. See the Paying for PrEP section for help with out-of-pocket costs.
        • Uninsured- No insurance? No problem! Not having insurance should not be a barrier to accessing PrEP. Many clinical providers have low-cost and/or sliding scale fees, and there are income-based programs that can help cover costs for uninsured patients. There is also the Ready, Set, PrEP or Gilead’s Advancing Access Program, which helps uninsured individuals access PrEP at no cost. See the Paying for PrEP section.

Paying for PrEP

      • Gilman Clinic, India Street STD Clinic, and Apothecary By Design all work closely with patients to ensure the cost of PrEP is not a barrier to access. Contact their prevention staff if you have questions about paying for PrEP, or need a referral.
      • A few common programs that help patients with PrEP costs are: 
        • Ready Set PrEP – Federal program to increase access to PrEP for uninsured individuals.
        • Gilead Advancing Access – Offers financial support and/or assistance with co-pays. 
        • Patient Assistance Programs – Patient Access Network Foundation (PAN), both the Patient Access Foundation (PAF) and Good Days offer assistance paying or PrEP. 
      • Gilman Clinic, India Street, and Apothecary By Design will sign up patients for patient assistance, making paying for PrEP and picking up a prescription hassle free.

Other Resources

      • Please PrEP ME – An online tool with lists of PrEP providers.
      • PrEP FactsPrEP Facts: Rethinking HIV Prevention and Sex is a closed Facebook group that you will have to request to join. It contains one of the most exhaustive FAQs and discussion about PrEP on the Web. It is moderated and includes health professionals, HIV educators, and patients. It’s a great place to ask questions and learn more.
      • PrEP Cost Calculator – An online tool to help estimate the cost of PrEP for individuals.
      • PrEP 4 Trans – Basic PrEP information for trans men.
      • Center for Disease Control PrEP Basics.
      • HIV Guidelines for PrEP – Practical, evidence-based clinical guidelines on HIV related topics, including PEP and PrEP from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) AIDS Institute (AI), Office of the Medical Director (OMD), and the John Hopkins University (JHU) School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases.
      • Center for Disease Control’s Clinician Resource for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).

Clinical Service Providers

      • Apothecary By Design – A specialty pharmacy with great customer care. They will sign patients up for assistance programs, and can also do mail order!
      • India Street STD Clinic – The STD clinic through Portland Public Health offers low/no cost, low-barrier, STI/PrEP/PEP clinical services, syringe exchange, and harm reduction services. This is a good option for people who do not have insurance.
      • Gilman Clinic – Lower barrier PrEP provider.
      • Sexual Health Providers – PrEP, birth control, sexual health screenings, and more!
      • Federally Qualified Health Centers – Low-cost primary care. Also, available to prescribe PrEP.
      • Telemedicine for PrEP – Telemedicine for STI testing, birth control, and PrEP/PEP.
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