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?

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. 

➔ Find a youth-friendly PrEP provider

Online PrEP providers are also available for youth with parental permission, including Stanford Medicine's Virtual PrEP Program for youth up to 25 years old. 

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 HIVE’s blog

➔ Check out the following social media groups:

Check out these articles we wrote in partnership with

➔  Is PrEP Right for you?

➔  Let’s Talk About (Safer) Sex

➔  People Talk About Their Decision to Use PrEP

➔  Check out our State Resources pages to find PrEP resources in your state.

➔ California Specific Resources:

Tools for remembering to take a daily pill:

➔ Medisafe Meds and Pill Reminder app (iPhone  or Android)

➔ Every Dose, Every Day app (iPhone or Android)