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Jacquelyne Froeber

HealthyWomen's Senior Editor

Jacquelyne Froeber is an award-winning journalist and editor. She’ holds a BA in journalism from Michigan State University. She is the former editor-in-chief of Celebrated Living magazine and has editing and writing experience for print and online publications, including Health magazine, Coastal Living magazine and

As a breast cancer survivor, Jacquelyne encourages everyone to perform self-exams and get their yearly mammograms.

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Medications That Treat and Prevent HIV

Medications That Treat and Prevent HIV

If you’re living with HIV or at high risk for the virus, these options can help

Conditions & Treatments

Infographic Medications That Treat and Prevent HIV. Click the image to open the PDF

Nearly 7,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with HIV each year.

There is no cure for HIV. But treatments can make the amount of virus in your blood so low that tests can no longer find it. This is called “undetectable viral load.”

Being in treatment means people living with HIV can enjoy longer, healthier lives. And being on medication also lowers the risk of spreading the virus to other people.

Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U)

HIV Treatment

Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) = a mix of drugs used to treat HIV

ART lowers the amount of HIV in the body and helps:

  • Reduce risk of spreading the virus to another person
  • Prevent the virus from becoming AIDS
  • Protect the immune system

ART is recommended for everyone living with HIV.

Treatment should start ASAP after diagnosis.

Great news!

If you don’t have HIV, there are drugs that can lower your chances of getting the virus if you’re exposed to it.

Types of HIV Prevention

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) = a pill or a shot you take before you’re exposed to HIV to help protect you from infection

The drug stops HIV from making copies of itself and spreading in a person exposed to HIV.

When taken correctly, PrEP lowers the chance of getting HIV from sex by about 99% .

You may want to consider PrEP if you :

  • Have vaginal or anal sex with someone who has HIV
  • Have sex without a condom
  • Have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) within the past 6 months
  • Share needles

Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) = an emergency medicine you take within 3 days after a possible exposure to HIV

You take 1 pill a day for 28 days. PEP can stop the virus from taking hold in your body. Don’t wait — the sooner you take the medicine the better it will work.

PEP is for people who may have been exposed to the virus during sex, while sharing needles, or after having been poked with a needle in the workplace.


Treating and preventing HIV keep it from spreading. Talk to your healthcare provider for options that may work for you.

This resource was created with support from Gilead and Merck.

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