Sexual Health for Youth: What you need to know
Do you or someone you know worry about HIV? You are going places and have goals - so here’s what you need to know about your HIV prevention options:
HIV is more preventable than ever. You may already know about some HIV prevention options such as male and female condoms, screening and treating sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and regular HIV testing - but let's talk about a few more: PrEP, PEP & TasP.
➔ PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a prescription medication that an HIV-negative person takes daily. When taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective. PrEP is safe and generally well tolerated. Most insurance plans (public and private) cover PrEP.
PrEP works for youth, women, men, trans people, people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, and people who inject drugs.
➔ PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis, is a combination of medications you can take AFTER a possible exposure to HIV if you are not on PrEP or have missed taking it as prescribed. PEP is most effective the sooner it’s started, and must be started within 72 hours of the exposure. PEP is taken daily for 28 days.
➔ Undetectable, TasP, or treatment as prevention, is when a person living with HIV is taking HIV medications to keep the virus at very low levels (called undetectable), then there is effectively no risk that they could pass HIV to an HIV-negative person.
These HIV prevention strategies are tools you can use alone or in combination to reduce your risk of getting HIV and stay in charge of your sexual health!
PrEP and PEP: The basics, by Planned Parenthood
Are you a person who:
➔ Worries about your HIV risk and wants to take control of your sexual health?
➔ Has condomless sex with partner of unknown HIV status?
➔ Has a sexual partner who is living with HIV?
➔ Recently had gonorrhea or syphilis?
➔ Exchanges sex for money/food/housing/drugs?
➔ Injects drugs?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, click the chat bubble on the right to speak with us about your PrEP options!
Or, check out this one-page PrEP primer from Planned Parenthood.
➔ PEP is taking medications daily for 28 days after a known/suspected exposure to HIV.
➔ PEP works when taken as prescribed.
➔ PEP must be started as soon as possible after an exposure but within 72 hours.
➔ PEP must be prescribed to you by a healthcare provider. You can also go to an ER to access PEP.
➔ You may have to tell your provider about PEP.
➔ Insurance, Medicaid, and patient assistance programs can help cover costs.
➔ If your medical provider is confused about PEP or doesn’t know about it, you can share this link for them to learn more: CCC PEPLine
Have you been exposed to HIV within the past 72hrs? PEP can help!
Are you in California? If so, you can check out our directory and add the filter “Offers PEP”.
Click the chat bubble on the right to chat with us - we can help you find a PEP provider.
➔ Where do you live? Looking for PrEP resources in your state? Check out our PleasePrEPMe.org State Resources page.
➔ California Specific Resources:
In Oakland? Check out an App called Healthy Oakland Teens to help you find the closest teen clinics and/or school-based health centers.<
Under 21? Check out How To Apply For Minor Consent Medi-Cal Program
Under 18? In California, minors may legally seek reproductive and sexual health services (“sensitive services”) without a parent’s consent or notice. Learn more about minor consent and confidentiality laws.
Want more info on your sexual and reproductive health and rights? ACLU has a great primer on Your Health, Your Rights for Teens
➔ When a person is living with HIV, it is recommended that they take daily HIV medication called anti-retroviral therapy or ART control their HIV and to stay healthy.
➔ ART reduces the amount of HIV in the body (viral load) to a very low level, which keeps the immune system working and prevents illness.
➔ HIV medicine can even make the viral load so low that a test can’t detect it. This is called an undetectable viral load.
➔ If a person living with HIV achieves and maintains an undetectable viral load, there is effectively no risk that they will transmit the virus to a sex partner.
➔ Check out Prevention Access Campaign
Got more questions? Click the chat bubble on the right to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members about your PEP and PrEP options!