Talking to your doctor about PrEP
Now that you’ve decided that PrEP is right for you, what’s next? Since PrEP isn’t available over the counter, you must visit your doctor or healthcare provider for a prescription. Here are a few things to know about talking PrEP with your doctor.
Your doctor may not know about PrEP.
Some healthcare providers may not be familiar with PrEP. Be prepared to share information from the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC provides basic information for doctors about PrEP, as well as testing and screening procedures.
Begin the conversation.
Different people have different reasons for taking PrEP. Be prepared to talk to your provider about why you want to start. Here are a few lines that might help you begin the conversation:
“I’ve researched HIV prevention strategies and PrEP seems best for me.”
“I use condoms but want the extra protection that PrEP provides.”
“My condom use is not always the best, so PrEP provides the safety net I need.”
Your doctor may be hesitant to prescribe PrEP.
Your doctor may not know enough about PrEP or may feel that it’s a green light for condomless sex. Regardless of their reasons, you deserve a healthcare provider who’s looking out for your best interests. If your doctor is uncomfortable with prescribing PrEP, find one that is! Ask friends if they can know any PrEP-friendly doctors. You can also search this interactive map of healthcare providers in Massachusetts.
Know the facts about starting and staying on PrEP.
In order for PrEP to work, you must take it as prescribed. Missing a dose could increase your chances of getting HIV. You must also be HIV-negative to start taking PrEP, which means you doctor will perform an HIV test before prescribing it. You’ll also need to be re-tested every three months or so, depending on your doctor’s guidelines.
Research insurance and payment options.
Before stepping into the doctor’s office, review your insurance coverage to be sure it covers PrEP. If your insurance doesn’t cover it or if you don’t have insurance, the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Drug Assistance Program (PrEPDAP) helps Massachusetts residents pay for approved medications, such as PrEP. Other programs offered by Gilead, the makers of Truvada® for PrEP and Descovy® for PrEP, may also help cover the cost.
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