Sexual Health for Youth: What you need to know
HIV is more preventable than ever. You may already know about some HIV prevention options such as condoms, screening and treating sexually transmitted infections, and regular HIV testing - but let's talk about a few more: PrEP, PEP & U=U.
➔ PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a pill to help keep you HIV negative. 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 PrEP 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 is when a person living with HIV takes medications to keep the virus at very low levels (called “undetectable viral load”). Many large clinical studies show that people who take their HIV medicines as prescribed and maintain an undetectable viral load have no risk of passing on HIV through sex. This concept is also known as U=U, short for “undetectable = untransmittable.” You can support your partner in staying undetectable by helping them take their HIV medications and access medical care.
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 HIV?
Does not use condoms during sex with partners of unknown HIV status?
Recently had gonorrhea or syphilis?
Wants to have sex without condoms with a partner who has HIV?
Exchanges sex for money, food, housing, and/or drugs?
Injects drugs and shares needles?
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.
While you're here, also check out Be HIV Free - Sex Without Stress! from Montefiore Medical Center.
➔ Clinician Consultation Center’s PrEPLine – Share this link with your medical provider if they are new to PrEP and would like expert clinical consultation by phone.
➔ Help Desk (if a provider refuses to prescribe PrEP) – Lambda Legal
➔ What to Do If Your Provider Says “No” to PrEP – Human Rights Campaign
➔ Check out our State Resources pages to find PrEP resources in your state.
➔ 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
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!