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Learn more about this new once-a-day pill that reduces risk of HIV infection by 92%.

PrEP - Pre Exposure Prophylaxis

What is PrEP?

Pre Exposure Prophylaxis is a once a day medication someone who is known to be HIV negative, but are at a high risk of becoming HIV positive, can take to reduce their risk of becoming HIV positive. Truvada is the only medication currently approved by the FDA to be prescribed as PrEP. PrEP does not protect against any other STDs, it is an additional barrier of protection against HIV, and additional precautions need to be taken to prevent STDs. It takes PrEP seven days to become fully effective. Studies have shown that taking PrEP every day can reduce a person’s chances of becoming HIV positive by 92%, becoming less effective when not taken consistently.

How can I get PrEP?

PrEP can be accessed through Project HIM and The Project of Primary Health Care (see below) or a person’s regular health care provider.

In general, a person will be screened to determine if they are a good candidate for PrEP. Those who qualify will be given a prescription to start taking a daily medication. In addition to the initial visit and taking the medication daily.

People on PrEP will need to return to their provider about every three months (90 days) for follow-up care that will involve needed blood work, HIV and STD screenings, assessment of any negative side effects and providing patients with a new prescription to refill their medication.


Accessing Prep Through Project HIM

We offer PrEP Consultation to individuals interesting in getting on PrEP. A consultation will consist of: An initial meeting with out Prevention Specialist to:

  • Conduct a rapid HIV test along with Syphilis, Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea screening
  • Discuss your prevention strategies, routine testing and doctor’s visits while on PrEP
  • Make a referral with our physician by scheduling your appointment (typically not on the same day, but within the next two weeks)

An appointment with our physician to:

  • Discuss your medial history and any health concerns
  • Review your conversation from your initial meeting
  • Determine if PrEP is right for you


Accessing PrEP elsewhere

If you choose to access PrEP through your own medical provider, here are some useful resources to take with you to show to your provider:

If your provider needs more information about PrEP, there is a PrEP support line for providers:

PrEPline : 855-448-7737
The CCC Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Service: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. EST

PrEP-friendly providers in the area – Providers vary in their level of knowledge and comfort about prescribing PrEP. Click here for local providers that we know are open and willing to discuss and prescribe PrEP to eligible patients.

The Project of Primary Health Care
1200 University Avenue, Ste.120
Des Moines, IA 50314
Franklin Family Practice Center
4908 Franklin Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50301
McFarland Clinic
1215 Duff Avenue
Ames, IA 50010
UnityPoint Clinic Internal Medicine
Methodist Plaza
1221 Pleasant St. Ste.200
Des Moines, IA 50309

How much does it cost?

If you’re concerned about how you will pay for PrEp, start by talking with a Prevention Specialist at the Project of Primary Health Care. He or She may be able to help you apply for assistance.

If you have insurance

A good way to start the process is to take your prescription to your pharmacist. He or she can tell you what the cost to you will be. If there are costs to you, those costs can be covered through Gilead Co-pay Assistance Coupon Card – You may be able to save on the co-pay for your TRUVADA (PrEP) prescription, with a GILEAD HIV Co-pay Coupon Card. Visit or call 1-877- 505-6986 for more information and to see if you are eligible. Sometime the copay for PrEP is too much for individuals with high-deductible insurance plans. The Patient Access Network provides copay assistance programs for individuals with these plans.

If you don’t have insurance

A Prevention Specialist at the Project can get you set up with a Benefits Specialist, who can assist you in getting insurance through the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan. Insurance is important because the following programs would only assist in covering the cost of medication, you will still be responsible for the medical costs associated with ongoing medical visits (which are part of taking PrEP).

Gilead U.S. Advancing Access Program

This program provides assistance to patients in the United States who do not have insurance or who need financial assistance. As part of this program, Gilead provides assistance for people who are eligible and who cannot afford to pay for TRUVADA. To learn about eligibility, contact Advancing Access at 1-800-226-2056 between 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. (Eastern).  Visit for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is PrEP right for me?

IF you answer yes to the following, PrEP might be a good thing to talk to your doctor about:

  • You have an HIV positive sexual partner.
  • You have been diagnosed with a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) in the past year
  • More than one sexual partner
  • History of inconsistent or no condom user
  • Exchange sex for drugs, money, housing or any other need
  • HIV positive injecting drug partner
  • Sharing injection drug equipment
  • Have used Post-Exposure Prophilaxis (PEP) more than once in the past year

Just because one of these may apply to you, does not guarantee a doctor will prescribe you PrEP.

Click here to take a short quiz to see if PrEP is right for you.

What kind of drugs are used for PrEP

The PrEP medication, called Truvada, is two different drugs combined into one pill, and has been used since 2004 to treat those who are HIV-positive. It was approved by the FDA during the summer of 2012 for use in patients who are HIV-negative but are at risk of being exposed or infected.


How does PrEP work?

HIV attacks the T-cells that are a part of everyone’s immune system. When a virus enters the body, T-cell are sent to fight it off. PrEP forms a barrier around the T-cells that keeps HIV from attacking them and reproducing in the body.

Has PrEP been proven effective?

Two clinical studies show that HIV-negative people who took Truvada™ as PrEP every day or nearly every day and combined it with condoms and other HIV prevention methods reduced their risk for HIV infection by over 90%.

How effective is PrEP at Preventing HIV?

If taken correctly and consistently, PrEP is 92%-99% effective in reducing your risk for HIV. PrEP is used along with other prevention methods, such as condoms. Read the CDC research here.

How long do I have to take PrEP for it to be effective?

Some studies suggest that if you take PrEP every day, it reaches its maximum protection in blood at 20 days, in rectal tissue at about 7 days, and in vaginal tissues at about 20 days. During that time other preventative measures should be taken. Click here to read more.







What is the difference between PEP and PrEP?

PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) is a dose of HIV medication that a person would take for 28 days after a known exposure to HIV to prevent HIV from replicating in the body. PEP has to be taken within 72 hours after the known exposure occurs and must be prescribed by a doctor and can be obtained at most ERs. If you are having troubles accessing PEP please contact a staff member at the Project.

Is PrEP only for men having sex with men?

No. PrEP can also be taken by heterosexual (straight) men and women, but this FAQ is tailored specifically to address gay and bisexual men or other men having sex with men.

What are the side effects of PrEP through Truvada?

As previously mentioned, Truvada is not a new drug. It has been used globally and safely for a number of years. However, with any medication, there is a risk of medication side effects. Many patients who have taken Truvada have reported little to no significant side effects, but every patient’s experience will be unique. A provider who is experienced with PrEP will be able to educate you about side effects and address and problems or questions you may have prior to and while you are taking the medication. For more information on side effects, visit:

Project HIM

Project HIM is an initiative of The Project of Primary Healthcare and offers free, rapid HIV testing for at-risk populations including gay and bisexual men. An HIV test involves a simple finger prick and results can be available in about 15 minutes. During the 15 minute session, the clinician testers at The Project will talk to you about your future goals related to sexual health and offer resources and support to help following the session, regardless of your test result.

Click the button below to schedule your PrEP consultation.