Adolescent Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

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Summary

One of the only facilities in North Texas providing PrEP  human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention treatment to adolescents and young adults

What is Adolescent Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a daily medication that lowers the chances of getting HIV in people who are at high risk of being exposed to the HIV virus, either through sexual activity or injection drug use. The treatment consists of taking a pill once a day. Follow-up visits are needed every three months for HIV testing, prescription refills and contact with your child’s doctor.

  • PrEP is a combination of two medications that block the HIV virus from creating the pathways that allow it to spread. It is very effective at reducing the risk of an HIV diagnosis when taken daily as prescribed.
  • PrEP is not a vaccine. A vaccine works by training your child’s body to fight off a specific infection. PrEP is a medication. If your child doesn’t take the medication every day, the protection it gives against HIV is decreased and the risk of infection is increased.

What are the benefits for Adolescent Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment?

Daily PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sexual activity more than 90 percent when it’s taken as prescribed. The medication has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV in intravenous drug users by more than 70 percent.

Success rates are even higher when PrEP is combined with education and condom use. PrEP is not as effective if it is not taken consistently

What are the risks of Adolescent Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment?

There are no serious risks associated with PrEP HIV prevention treatment. There is a slight chance of reduced bone density. In a very small number of cases, it may cause kidney damage. Your child’s doctor will monitor your child’s health through regular lab work and check ups and adjust the medication’s dosage as needed.

What are the Children's Health outcomes metrics for Adolescent Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment?

PrEP reduces the chances of getting HIV from sexual activity by more than 90 percent. It reduces the risk of HIV from injected drug use by more than 70 percent.

What to expect with Adolescent Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment?

PrEP HIV prevention treatment is a daily medication that should be taken as prescribed to be most effective. Your child will be tested for HIV before starting the medication. 

Follow-up visits with your child’s doctor are done every three months. HIV testing and other lab work is repeated at that time to monitor your child’s health and ensure he or she is infection free.

How do I prepare my child for Adolescent Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment?

PrEP is most effective when combined with education, condom use and regular screenings. Talking to your child in a frank and honest manner about safe sex and injected drug use is not always easy but it is an important component of a successful prevention plan. Children’s Health also has social workers who are available for counseling and to provide assistance if needed.

What questions should I ask my doctor at Adolescent Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment?

  • I know my child is sexually active. Should he or she be on daily PrEP “just in case”?
  • What are the side effects of PrEP?
  • How long does my child need to take PrEP for it to be effective?
  • Are there any medications or supplements that should not be taken with PrEP? 

FAQs about Adolescent Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment

How do I know if PrEP is right for my child?

Your child’s doctor can help you determine whether PrEP is right for them. If your child is sexually active or uses injected drugs, PrEP offers protection to keep HIV from taking hold and/or spreading.

Are there any health risks associated with taking PrEP?

There is a slight chance of reduced bone density or kidney damage when taking PrEP but there are no serious health risks associated with the medication.

Is PrEP covered by most insurance?  

Most private and state Medicaid plans cover PrEP. Private insurance may also cover its use. Check with your employer or insurance company to determine whether your child is eligible for coverage under your plan.

Learn more about paying for PrEP.

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