Sexual Health: HIV, PrEP, and PEP

Very effective HIV prevention medications are available through UHS for people at increased risk for HIV exposure.

People living with HIV can live long, healthy lives with treatment. But to get treated you need to get diagnosed.

Should I get tested for HIV? Yes. Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information to keep yourself and your sex partners healthy. We recommend everyone get tested at least once. We recommend that anyone who has more than one sex partner or other risk factors get tested on a routine basis, every three to twelve months. Talk with your medical provider about a schedule that is right for you.

What can I do to prevent HIV infection? Using barrier devices like condoms is an important way to reduce your risk for all STIs. Additionally, if you are at increased risk for HIV, we recommend you learn about PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). If you have a known HIV exposure, you may be a candidate for PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis).

How do you test for HIV? UHS tests for HIV infection in one of two ways: a cheek swab or a blood sample. We will talk to you about the best test option for you.

How long after infection will a screening test turn positive? The HIV cheek swab test will detect most infections one month following infection and nearly all within three months. The HIV blood test detects some infections two weeks following infection and nearly all within six weeks.

What is U=U? U=U is an important concept to understand about HIV infection and transmissibility. It stands for “undetectable equals untransmissible.” This means that a person living with HIV who is taking antiretroviral medications and has undetectable levels of virus in their blood stream is NOT able to transmit the HIV infection to their sex partners.

More about PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis)

PrEP is a daily anti-HIV medication you can take which, along with regular condom use, can dramatically reduce your chances of becoming infected. This information below will give you a starting point, then speak with your medical provider for more information.

Is PrEP right for me? Deciding to take PrEP means weighing out the risks versus the benefits. CDC PrEP Basics is a good place to start. The CDC's Risk Estimator Tool is a good way to assess your actual risk for HIV infection if you were to have sex with a person living with HIV.

How do I get PrEP at UHS? Call us at 541-346-2770 and ask for an appointment in Primary Care to discuss PrEP. We will take it from there.

More about PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis)

PEP stands for post-exposure prophylaxis. It means taking medication for 28 days to prevent HIV infection after a possible exposure. PEP is for emergency situations and is not a substitute for other HIV prevention methods, like condom use and PrEP.

PEP must be started within 72 hours of possible exposure in order to be effective. Call UHS right away if you think you’ve been exposed or go to an urgent care or emergency department if it’s after hours. Every hour counts. The sooner you start PEP, the better.

More resources about HIV, PrEP, PEP, and U=U