PrEP prescription available online 

If you've been exposed to HIV, PrEP can help. Get a new prescription or refill of PrEP from the largest PrEP provider in the United States discreetly and affordably.*

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PrEP, when taken daily, is 99% effective in preventing HIV

Easy-to-follow PrEP prescription instructions

At-home HIV and PrEP testing available

*Prescriptions are provided at the doctor’s discretion. Learn more about our controlled substances policy and how you can save up to 80% with our prescription discount card.

About PrEP

PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is considered an antiretroviral medicine that reduces your chances of getting HIV from sex or injection drugs. When taken as prescribed, PrEP is effective in preventing HIV infection.

PrEP is used to prevent HIV infection. PrEP is available only by prescription. It is available in a generic formulation as well as under different brand names, including Truvada, Descovy, and Apretude.

PrEP may be prescribed as an oral tablet or injection. It’s always important to follow the specific instructions on your prescription, as they can vary based on the formulation and dosage prescribed.

If you're prescribed PrEP, be sure to complete the full course of the PrEP medication unless your doctor specifically tells you to stop. If you don’t complete your prescription, the PrEP medication may not work as effectively to prevent HIV infection.

PrEP uses

There is one FDA-approved use for PrEP, but it may also be used off-label to treat other conditions. Your online medical professional may prescribe PrEP for the following reason. It’s also possible that your healthcare provider may prescribe it for other reasons not listed here. If you have questions about why a medication is prescribed, ask your online doctor or pharmacist.

  • HIV prevention

    PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is FDA-approved to reduce the chances of developing HIV from sex or injection drug use in HIV-negative patients. PrEP should be used together with safe-sex practices to reduce the high risk of of contracting HIV.

PrEP side effects

The side- effects typically associated with taking PrEP are typically mild. Most PrEP side effects are associated with headaches.

  • PrEP has some common side effects. They may include:

    • Headache or dizziness

    • Nausea and stomach pain

    • Weight loss


    Other side effects, which are less common but might have increased risk or be more severe, could include:

    • Lactic acidosis

    • Sudden or unusual bone pain

    • Kidney or liver problems


    You should call your doctor if you notice any of these side effects, or if you develop any other new or concerning symptoms. Tell your doctor immediately if you have symptoms of HIV, such as muscle or joint pain, sore throat, and night sweats.

    The use of PrEP is approved in pediatric patients weighing over 37 pounds (17 kg). It is not known whether PrEP is safe and effective for children under 37 pounds.

How to take PrEP

Your pharmacist will provide you with instructions on how to take your PrEP prescription. Be sure to read your prescription label and follow the instructions. Call your doctor or pharmacy if you have any questions.

PrEP can come in different forms and doses, so be sure to follow the specific instructions on your prescription. Use all PrEP medications as directed, and avoid changing your dosing schedule without your doctor's advice. You can take PrEP medication with or without food.

When taking PrEP, you will need frequent lab tests to check your liver and kidney function, as well as your bone density.

PrEP alone will not protect you from HIV infection. It's important to use safe-sex practices and get HIV testing regularly.

What to avoid while taking PrEP

PrEP has 212 drug interactions. Don’t change what you are taking without checking with your doctor or pharmacist. That includes other medications or supplements, as well as over-the-counter drugs. 

Possible drug interactions with PrEP prescriptions include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including Advil and Motrin

  • High blood pressure medicine

  • Medication for cancer, infections, or organ transplant rejection


Talk to your doctor before drinking alcohol. Drinking alcohol weakens the immune system, making it harder for your body to fight infections.

Medication alternatives to PrEP

If your healthcare provider prefers to put you on another treatment, they may suggest another antiretroviral or PrEP medication in another drug class. Here are some common doctor-recommended alternatives based on your health issue:

PrEP prescription FAQs

  • How much does PrEP cost?

    Depending on your pharmacy, PrEP costs around $1,758 for a 30-day supply without insurance or other patient assistance programs.

    Most health insurance plans, including Medicaid, cover pre-exposure prophylaxis. Check with your insurance company to see if PrEP is covered by your health insurance plan. Patient assistance programs can help make PrEP affordable if you don't have health insurance.

  • Will my insurance pay for PrEP?

    Your pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) prescription should be covered if you have insurance. You will only need to worry about copays or, depending on your plan, deductibles. However, when starting any new medication, contacting your insurance company and verifying your coverage is a good idea.

    Gilead, the maker of Truvada, has copay assistance that makes getting on Truvada PrEP, the HIV prevention pill, highly affordable to almost anyone. Many patients pay nothing out of pocket costs for PrEP.

  • What are PrEP insurance and copay assistance options?

    Insurance plans typically cover PrEP costs via Pharmacy Benefits. Considering that the PrEP prevention pill can cost up to $20,000 a year, this can help PrEP users save a significant amount of money.

    If you book an appointment with a PlushCare doctor to discuss the PrEP drug, you will learn how much insurance will cover before you commit to a treatment regimen.

    PlushCare also provides each patient with a PrEP Coordinator who will guide you through the payment process and check if you are eligible for assistance programs.

    Buyer beware: sometimes you will be billed due to a high deductible. Make sure to check with your PrEP provider to confirm that your insurance company has been billed properly.

    PlushCare has had patients on the PrEP drug covered by the following health insurers, insurance plans and more:

    • Blue Cross Blue Shield

    • Blue Shield of California

    • Anthem Blue Cross

    • Aetna

    • Humana

    • Molina

    • Delta Health

    • Marketplace plans

    • IEHP

    • Healthnet

    • TriCare

    • Highmark

    • Coventry

    • Oxford

    • Carefirst

    • Medi-Cal

    • Medicare


    In 2014, California started covering PrEP costs via the state's Medicaid program, Medi-Cal. California continues to make PrEP accessible as the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has partnered with PlushCare to provide free access to PrEP statewide at home testing.

    Today, "most insurance plans and state Medicaid programs cover PrEP," according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "There are also other programs that provide PrEP for free or at a reduced cost," such as Ready, Set, PrEP, which makes the HIV prevention drug available at no cost to eligible patients.

  • How to get PrEP without insurance?

    You can get PrEP without insurance. If you're uninsured, please email our PrEP team at [email protected] for advice. The drug maker of Truvada, Gilead, has set up an assistance program for the uninsured to help cover the cost if you meet the income criteria. Learn more about their Advancing Access program.

    There are many places to get low cost PrEP and many government and nonprofit organizations provide assistance. However, this greatly varies by the city and state you reside in.

    If you live in San Francisco, Healthy San Francisco covers PrEP costs if you meet the coverage criteria. Learn more here.

    Alternatively, you can book an appointment with us to meet with one of our board-certified doctors on your phone and discuss your PrEP treatment options. We accept uninsured and self-pay members for a first visit cost of $129 and a follow-up visit cost of $99. If one of our experienced doctors cannot help you, you will get your money back.

    If there are any other questions or issues, please email [email protected] or call 1-800-221-5140.

  • How can I refill my PrEP prescription?

    To refill your PrEP prescription, book a virtual appointment with a board-certified PlushCare doctor. After reviewing your medical history, your doctor can send an electronic prescription to your local pharmacy.

  • Who should not take PrEP?

    To make sure PrEP is right for you, tell your doctor if you have:

    • Liver disease

    • Impaired kidney function

    • Osteopenia (low bone mineral density)

    • Hepatitis C

    • If you're pregnant or breastfeeding

    • If you've tested positive for HIV


    PrEP isn't the same thing as PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis). PrEP is an ongoing treatment for people who have been exposed to HIV in the past 72 hours.

  • Can I drink alcohol while on PrEP?

    There are no known interactions between alcohol and PrEP. However, drinking alcohol can weaken your immune system, which can make it harder for your body to fight an HIV infection.

  • Can I take PrEP any time of the day?

    Yes, you can take PrEP at any time of the day, with or without food. Make sure to take PrEP at the same time each day.

  • What are the disadvantages of using PrEP?

    Although PrEP is safe, some people may experience side effects such as nausea, headache, fatigue, and stomach pain.

  • Should I take PrEP if my partner is undetectable?

    No, you don't need to take PrEP if your sexual partner is undetectable. An undetectable viral load means the level of HIV is too low to measure through blood tests. As a result, HIV will not be transmitted through sex.

  • Is PrEP effective after three days?

    When taken within 72 hours of possible exposure, PrEP is highly effective in preventing HIV. After 72 hours, PrEP will not be as effective.

  • What happens if I miss a dose of PrEP?

    If you miss a dose of PrEP, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it’s almost time for your next dose. Avoid taking two doses to make up for a missed dose.

  • What happens if I take too much PrEP?

    If you've taken too much PrEP, seek emergency medical attention or contact your local poison control center.

  • How do I get an at-home PrEP lab kit through PlushCare?

    You can email [email protected] to request an at-home PrEP lab kit or book an appointment with a PlushCare physician who can order it for you.

  • Which labs can I get with the at-home PrEP lab kit?

    • HIV test

    • Kidney function test

    • Hepatitis B test

    • 3-site gonorrhea and chlamydia test

    • Syphilis test

    • Pregnancy test

  • How much do PrEP at-home lab tests cost with insurance?

    Over 95% of patients with in-network insurance for PrEP-related testing are covered in full with little to no out-of-pocket costs! If your insurance is out-of-network or you're paying without insurance, the maximum amount you can owe for PrEP at-home lab testing is $99.

    Your PrEP lab testing kit and shipping costs are not covered by insurance, and will be $59. This is a standard shipping cost for all at-home lab testing kits, regardless of the lab(s) used.

  • How is the PrEP at-home lab test kit sent to me?

    PrEP lab testing kits are mailed directly to you within 1-3 days. You’ll receive a confirmation email with the expected shipping and result times. Your kit will include illustrated instructions and a video link on how to complete your labs.

  • What if I don't have private health insurance and PrEP is too expensive?

    If you're uninsured, please email our PrEP team at [email protected] for advice. The drug maker of Truvada, Gilead, has set up an assistance program for the uninsured to help cover the cost if you meet the income criteria. You can find out more information here.

    There are many places to get low cost PrEP and many government and nonprofit organizations provide assistance. However, this greatly varies by the city and state you reside in.

    If you live in San Francisco, Healthy San Francisco covers PrEP costs if you meet the coverage criteria. Learn more here.

    If there are any other questions or issues, please email [email protected] or call 1-800-221-5140.

3 simple steps to request your PrEP prescription today 

Step 1

Book a visit with a doctor to discuss PrEP.

During your first visit, your PlushCare doctor will review your medical history and health goals.

Step 2

Talk to your physician regarding PrEP medication.

Visit with a doctor on your smartphone or computer. Lab work is required, and they’ll send an order to your preferred lab or deliver a lab kit to your home. Once your results are available, your doctor will review them and discuss all treatment options.

Step 3

Pick up your PrEP medication, if prescribed.

Prescriptions are provided based on eligibility and safety.  Our physicians will prescribe medications and monitor your kidney function while taking PrEP.

PrEP prescription pricing details

How pricing works

To get a new or refill on your PrEP prescription, join our monthly membership and get discounted visits.

Paying with insurance

Membership

$16.99/month

First month free

Visits

Copay

30 days of free membership

  • Same-day appointments 7 days a week

  • Unlimited messages with your Care Team

  • Prescription discount card to save up to 80%

  • Exclusive discounts on lab tests

  • Free memberships for your family

  • Cancel anytime

Visit price with insurance

Often the same as an office visit. Most patients with in-network insurance pay $30 or less!

  • We accept these insurance plans and many more:

    • Humana
    • Aetna
    • United Healthcare

Paying without insurance

Membership

$16.99/month

First month free

Visits

$129

30 days of free membership

  • Same-day appointments 7 days a week

  • Unlimited messages with your Care Team

  • Prescription discount card to save up to 80%

  • Exclusive discounts on lab tests

  • Free memberships for your family

  • Cancel anytime

Visit price without insurance

Initial visits are $129.

Book an appointment

If we're unable to treat you, we'll provide a full refund.

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PlushCare content is reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, nutritionists, and other healthcare professionals. Learn more about our editorial standards and meet the medical team. The PlushCare site or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.