In December 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced new guidance and options for HIV prevention. Read below for more information and talk to your healthcare provider to discuss the best option for you.
Updated December 30, 2021
[Image description: White text reads, “New updates on guidelines for PrEP as HIV prevention.” Alongside the text is a large red ribbon, and underneath are the colors from the More Colors More Pride flag. In the upper right hand corner is the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center logo.]
What’s new in the recent CDC Guidance?
The CDC announced new guidelines for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in early December 2021. PrEP is preventative HIV medicine. The new guidelines include:
- PrEP through telehealth;
- Updated guidelines for Descovy for PrEP;
- Information about Apretude for PrEP, the first injectable PrEP;
- PrEP On-Demand;
- Same-Day PrEP; and
- A recommendation for providers to discuss PrEP with all sexually active patients and to prescribe PrEP without requiring an assessment of sexual behaviors. These actions are intended to increase knowledge of and access to PrEP.
What is PrEP, and who is it for?
PrEP (or pre-exposure prophylaxis) reduces the risk of getting HIV. PrEP is for people who may be at higher risk of getting HIV, including people in serodiscordant relationships (in which one partner is HIV+ and the other(s) is not), people who are sexually active with multiple partners and/or choose not to utilize condoms, and people who inject drugs. Currently, PrEP comes as both a daily oral medication and as a bimonthly injection.
Anyone can talk to their clinician about PrEP. You do not have to report any specific behaviors, identities, or risk factors in order to receive PrEP. However, current guidelines do require tests to determine if PrEP is right for you.
Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center does not provide medical services, so we recommend talking to your primary care provider or one of the following providers of PrEP in the Lehigh Valley:
- Comprehensive Health Services at Lehigh Valley Health Network: (610) 969-2400
- Novus Adult Care Services: (610) 867-5365
If you do not have a primary healthcare provider, and would like a referral to an LGBTQ-affirming clinician, contact our health team at [email protected].
Will my insurance cover PrEP? How can I get PrEP if I don’t have insurance?
Earlier this year, the federal government required that almost all health insurers must cover PrEP with no cost sharing, meaning that PrEP is virtually free for almost all insured individuals. Additionally, the federal Ready, Set, PrEP program provides access to PrEP medications for free for those who do not have health insurance coverage for prescription drugs, test negative for HIV, and have a prescription for PrEP.
However, while insurance plans are required to cover PrEP, they are able to restrict access to more expensive options and have a tiered coverage approach. Newly approved options, such as injectable PrEP, may or may not be available through all insurance providers yet. Talk with your doctor about what options are best suited and available to you.
You can contact [email protected] for referrals to options for you to receive PrEP free of cost. If you would like help looking at healthcare plans and enrolling in a plan that covers PrEP, click here or contact [email protected] to look at options for low-cost healthcare insurance that fit your needs.
What types of PrEP are available?
Any person considering PrEP should talk to their provider about which option of PrEP is right for them. To help you start those conversations, we’ve outlined the CDC’s recommendations below.
Daily oral PrEP: There are currently two types of daily PrEP medications.
- Truvada for PrEP is FDA approved for any person at risk of contracting HIV. A generic form of Truvada is available in the US. Truvada does not impact hormone levels.
- Descovy for PrEP is FDA approved for people who were assigned male at birth and are at risk of contracting HIV through penetrative or anal sex. There is not currently a generic form of Descovy available in the US.
Injectable PrEP: The CDC and FDA approved the first ever injectable PrEP in December 2021!
- Apretude is for adults (18+) at risk of contracting HIV. There is not currently a generic form of Apretude available in the US.
PrEP On-Demand: An oral medication (Viread or Emtriva) taken at times that coincide with sexual activity. Approved by the CDC and FDA in December 2021!
- This type of PrEP is approved for people who were assigned male at birth. The regimen also being called the "2-1-1" schedule. Talk to your provider to see if PrEP On-Demand is right for you.
More Resources for Preventing the Spread of HIV
Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center offers judgment-free HIV testing for all adults (18+) on the first and third Tuesdays of each month from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. Additionally, people ages 14 to 29 can make appointments for HIV testing with the Project Silk Lehigh Valley program.
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