PrEP for HIV FAQs
PrEP is short for Pre-exposure Prophylaxis. It is a once-per-day pill that reduces the risk of contracting HIV by up to 99%
Daily PrEP use reduces the risk of getting HIV by 99%. Daily use is the most studied regimen, and this is what we recommend as well.
Less than 10% of people experience side effects on PrEP, and most go away in 1–2 weeks. The most common short-term side effects include nausea, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea.
In a small number of people, long-term use of PrEP can lead to decreases in bone density and kidney function. However, these rare side effects are completely reversable by ceasing to take PrEP.
The fear of side effects shouldn’t hold you back from trying PrEP. Regular testing will ensure that you are doing well while on PrEP, and that any side effects are managed.
If you take PrEP daily, the presence of the medicine in your bloodstream helps stop HIV from taking hold and spreading in your body. PrEP stops HIV in your bloodstream from replicating, eliminating the virus from your body when the original exposure amount dies.
Freddie offers PrEP in two options: Descovy and Truvada (name brand or generic). Both Descovy and Truvada offer equal amounts of protection against HIV when taken daily. Your Freddie clinician will work with you to determine the best option for you.
Yes! Freddie partners with Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to offer all clinical services associated with PrEP — including consultations, at-home lab tests, and ongoing clinical support — for free. The majority of Freddie patients are also able to recieve their PrEP prescription for free as well through their health insurance.
PrEP is covered by most insurance companies, along with Medicaid and Medicare. The pharmacy that fills your PrEP prescription will be able to provide you with specific details related to your insurance plan.
Freddie can help uninsured patients access Affordable Care Act plans to cover PrEP through a local clinic. The Affordable Care Act is government-subsidized health insurance which provides either $0 premiums or premium assistance, often reducing the cost to zero. More information on the ACA can be found here.
Yes, if you are on you parent’s/guardian’s or spouse’s insurance plan you will be able to use that for your PrEP.
With our at-home lab kits and virtual appointments, you can get started without leaving your home! Once you complete your appointment with a Freddie clinician, we will ship you your at-home lab kit. The tests within take less than 15 minutes to complete, and full instructions are included in the package. Once the samples are collected, ship the kit back in the prepaid priority mail envelope.
At-home lab kits are provided for free by Freddie, while in-person labs will require you to pay out of pocket or use insurance. Because at-home lab kits are free and easy to use, we recommend them for most Freddie patients. If you would prefer to complete your testing in-person, please notify your clinician during your appointment who will be able to support you with the testing process.
Lab tests help determine if PrEP is safe for you (and PrEP is safe for almost everyone). Remaining HIV-negative and monitoring kidney health are some of the key areas being screened. An additional benefit of regular testing is STI screening to help ensure your overall sexual health.
Freddie partners with 340B Community Based Organizations (CBO) to be able to offer the Freddie's clinical services for free. These CBOs only recieve funding when the prescription is filled at one of their partner pharmacies. This funding also supports numerous other programs within the community. These partner pharmacies offer free shipping, and are also PrEP experts who can help you navigate your insurance.
Your PrEP will be packaged in a discreet envelope without any branding or mention of its contents. It will be sent with free 1-2 day shipping.
When we expect that you have approximately 30 pills remaining we will send you a short health assessment questionnaire that will be reviewed by a Freddie clinician. Once this assessment is complete we will send you another at-home lab kit. Once you've sent in your completed lab kit, you will be able to recieve your next prescription!