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Though you can go to a doctor’s office to get PrEP, there are also some telemedicine services where you can get a prescription for PrEP online. See our picks below, along with other tips on finding PrEP.

In the past few decades, HIV treatment and prevention has made some great strides. Preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a medication that can play a major role in reducing HIV transmission. When taken as prescribed, PrEP effectively reduces your chances of contracting HIV.

The FDA first approved PrEP medications for HIV prevention in 2012. Compared with placebo medication, daily oral PrEP reduces your chances of contracting HIV by as much as 92% when taken as prescribed. Despite this, only about 30% of people who could benefit from PrEP received prescriptions in 2021.

But there’s a movement to destigmatize PrEP and make it more accessible for those who need it most. Because of this, PrEP is becoming a little easier to access — for example, you can buy it online.

Buying PrEP online can be a good option if you can’t (or don’t want to) see a healthcare professional in person. This means you can order and receive PrEP in the comfort of your home.

To help you access PrEP online, we’ve compiled a list of legitimate websites that prescribe PrEP.

What is PrEP? A refresher

“PrEP” stands for “preexposure prophylaxis.” PrEP is an antiviral medication that can significantly reduce your chance of contracting HIV. You can either take it orally (as a pill) or receive it as an injection. If you’re exposed to HIV after using PrEP as prescribed, the medication will reduce your chances of contracting the virus.

Note that there’s a difference between PrEP and PEP. As its name suggests, postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) is taken after you’ve been potentially exposed to HIV.

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Pros of buying PrEP online

  • It can be more convenient and time-saving.
  • It eliminates transportation costs.
  • It’s more accessible if you can’t leave the house or get to a healthcare facility.
  • You may feel more comfortable speaking with someone online.
  • It can be cheaper in some cases.

Cons of buying PrEP online

  • It requires reliable internet access.
  • Your medication may take a few days to arrive.
  • You may feel less comfortable talking with a stranger than with a healthcare professional who knows your medical history.
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Best overall

Mistr

  • Price: Free
  • Insurance accepted?: Yes
  • Delivery cost: Free, delivered to your home
  • Getting started: Request an at-home testing kit, which you’ll then mail to the company. From there, a healthcare professional will contact you to make an online appointment.
  • Follow-ups: Free
  • Lab testing: Yes, at-home testing
  • HIV-positive care?: Yes

Mistr is a telehealth company that specializes in providing free PrEP. It’s focused on serving the LGBTQIA+ community, but the platform can help anyone access PrEP, regardless of gender or orientation.

One huge plus of Mistr? It offers free PrEP and free online consultations and tests. If you don’t have insurance, the folks at Mistr promise they will get you covered through patient assistance programs (and they handle the paperwork, making it easier for you).

To use Mistr for PrEP, you’ll start by answering a basic questionnaire. The company will then send you a free at-home testing kit to collect fluids for lab tests, which you’ll send back to the company. Mistr’s physicians will take a look at your results and prescribe PrEP if possible.

You’ll get free delivery of PrEP to your home, with automatic refills each month. You’ll need to retest and have follow-ups every 3 months.

While many online reviews of Mistr are positive, there are a few negative reviews that mention slow service and poor customer care.

  • Pros:
    • PrEP, consultations, and tests are free.
    • Testing can be done at home.
    • PrEP can be delivered directly to your home.
    • The company is gay-owned and -operated.
  • Cons:
    • Mistr offers PrEP only — no other medical services.
    • Some online reviewers complain about slow service and poor customer care.

Best for all-in-one telehealth

PlushCare

  • Price: $16.99 per month for membership; $129 for consultation (which may be partially covered by insurance); medication billed separately
  • Insurance accepted?: Yes
  • Delivery cost: No delivery (pick up at pharmacy)
  • Getting started: You can start by booking a healthcare appointment or emailing PlushCare to request an at-home testing kit.
  • Follow-ups: $129 for follow-up consultations (which may be covered by insurance)
  • Lab testing: $254 for initial testing; $180 for follow-up tests (plus shipping fee)
  • HIV-positive care?: Yes

PlushCare is a telemedicine company that offers a few healthcare services, including PrEP prescriptions. It’s a prescription-based service, and you’ll need to pay a monthly membership fee as well as consultation fees (which may partially be covered by insurance).

Before accessing PrEP, you’ll need to speak with a healthcare professional via the company’s online portal. You’ll also need to undergo tests, which can be done at a local pathology lab or with an at-home testing kit. These steps ensure that PrEP will be suitable for you.

Once a healthcare professional prescribes PrEP for you, your prescription will be sent to a local pharmacy of your choice, where you can pick it up. You’ll have to pay for the actual medication separately. You can use the PlushCare app’s Prescription Discount Card to save money on medication — the company’s website states that its clients save 74% on PrEP on average.

Compared with similar telePrEP companies, PlushCare can be relatively costly when it comes to accessing PrEP. But a huge benefit is that you can use it for a number of different medical needs, not just for getting a PrEP subscription.

  • Pros:
    • Membership allows access to other services, not just PrEP.
    • The first 30 days of your membership are free.
    • You can book same-day appointments on any day of the week.
    • You can message your care team in between appointments.
    • Your family can get free memberships if you have one.
    • You can save money on PrEP with PlushCare’s Prescription Discount Card.
    • Financial assistance is available.
  • Cons:
    • You need a membership to use PlushCare.
    • It’s costly compared with competitors.
    • PlushCare delivers PrEP to a local pharmacy, not to your home.
    • Online reviews complain about poor customer service and billing issues.

Best for sexual health

Nurx

  • Price: $30 for the PrEP consultation; medication billed separately
  • Insurance accepted?: Yes
  • Delivery cost: Free; delivered to your home or a local pharmacy
  • Getting started: You first fill out a brief questionnaire. If you’re eligible for PrEP, the company will send you an HIV/STI home test kit. The medical professionals will review your test results and prescribe PrEP if appropriate.
  • Follow-ups: $30 for 3-month follow-up consultation; unlimited messaging with your care team in between follow-ups
  • Lab testing: Prices start at $94 with free shipping for an at-home testing kit; tests are free if you have insurance.
  • HIV-positive care?: No

A well-known telehealth company, Nurx offers prescription and over-the-counter medications for a wide variety of concerns, including sexual health.

To get PrEP through Nurx, you’ll need to complete an at-home test kit or have the tests done at a local lab.

The consultation for PrEP costs $30, and the lab test costs $94 (but it’s free with insurance). You’ll have to pay for the actual medication separately, although your insurance might also cover part of this cost. Nurx does not specify the price of the medication online. Nurx provides a 3-month supply of PrEP medication at a time.

The care team will automatically contact you after 3 months to follow up. You’ll need to pay another $30 fee and redo your lab tests every 3 months. In between consultations, you get unlimited messaging with your healthcare team for any PrEP-related concerns.

  • Pros:
    • The fees are very affordable.
    • You can get 3 months’ supply of PrEP at a time.
    • You can message your healthcare team in between appointments.
    • Delivery is free for medication and at-home tests.
    • Financial assistance is available.
  • Cons:
    • Online reviewers complain about poor customer service and billing issues.
    • You’ll have to pay separately for other medication/consultations through Nurx.

Best for trans-affirming care

Q Care Plus

  • Price: Usually free
  • Insurance accepted?: Yes
  • Delivery cost: Usually free
  • Getting started: First, book an online consultation with the company’s licensed medical professionals. If PrEP may be a good fit for you, you’ll then do lab tests.
  • Follow-ups: Usually free
  • Lab testing: Usually free (at-home and in-person tests)
  • HIV-positive care?: Yes

Q Care Plus aims to offer “open-minded, sex-positive, gender-affirming” medical care to vulnerable communities. In addition to offering PrEP, the company offers doxy-PEP and HIV care.

Like Mistr, Q Care Plus helps you cover the cost of PrEP through your insurance and/or patient assistance programs. These programs can help you pay for PrEP as well as consultations, copays, and lab tests. It’s not clear how much Q Care Plus charges if you pay entirely out of pocket, but the company’s website says it’s “usually free” to access PrEP through Q Care Plus.

While other telePrEP companies ask you to get tested before your online appointment, Q Care Plus has you meet online with a healthcare professional before you do your tests. You can either opt for an at-home testing kit or do your tests in person at a local lab.

Although Q Care Plus has overwhelmingly positive reviews, some reviewers have complaints about customer care.

  • Pros:
    • This company focuses on providing gender-affirming care.
    • It also offers doxy-PEP and online HIV care.
    • Online reviews are mostly positive.
  • Cons:
    • There are a few customer complaints online.
Consultation price
Insurance accepted?
Delivery
Follow-ups
HIV positive care?
free
yes
free
free
yes
$129 (plus $16.99 monthly fee)
yes
pick up at pharmacy
$129
yes
$30
yes
free
$30
no
usually free
yes
usually free
usually free
yes

PrEP comes in pill form and injection form. At the moment, the FDA has approved only two pills for use as PrEP.

Truvada (and its generic form, emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) is for anyone who is at risk of contracting HIV through sex or injections.

Descovy is only for people who are at risk of contracting HIV through non-vaginal sex, as its effectiveness hasn’t been tested in people assigned female at birth who may contract HIV from vaginal sex. There is currently no generic form of Descovy.

You’ll need to take PrEP pills every day as prescribed in order to have the best chance of preventing HIV.

Be aware of the following time frames for using PrEP:

  • For preventing HIV infection through receptive anal sex (“bottoming”), PrEP only reaches maximum effectiveness after you’ve taken it daily for 7 days.
  • For preventing infection through receptive vaginal sex or injection drug use, this time frame is 21 days of daily use.
  • There’s no data on the waiting period for using PrEP for insertive anal or vaginal sex (“topping”).

The only FDA-approved PrEP injection is Apretude. It’s only for people who are at risk of contracting HIV through sex. Our medical reviewer, Philip Ngo, PharmD, says that it takes a bit of work to initiate treatment.

“It starts with an initial injection in the buttocks, then a second injection 1 month later. Then, it’s every 2 months afterwards. Patients seeking this injection must weigh at least 77 pounds.”

People who are interested in Apretude also have the option of a 4-week lead-in period. This consists of taking oral tablets before the first injection if there is concern for side effects.

Most online PrEP providers offer only oral PrEP. However, if you think that the injection form would be more suitable for you, you can chat with a healthcare professional.

PrEP is meant to be taken as a preventive measure. If you think you’ve already been exposed to HIV, get to urgent care immediately and ask for PEP. This can help reduce your chances of developing HIV after exposure.

Health insurance plans, Medicaid, and Medicare cover the costs of PrEP. But you may still have to pay out of pocket to cover the copay for your medical appointments and lab tests.

What if you want PrEP, but don’t have insurance? Now that Truvada is available in generic form, it’s much cheaper. Numerous financial assistance programs can also help cover the costs of PrEP.

If you need help paying for PrEP, try the following programs:

  • Ready, Set, PrEP is a government program that makes PrEP medication available at no cost to those who qualify.
  • Gilead, the manufacturer of Truvada and Descovy, has assistance programs to help lower the costs of PrEP medications.
  • ViiVConnect has a financial assistance program that helps cover the cost of PrEP injections.
  • Your state may have its own PrEP assistance program.
  • The Patient Advocate Foundation offers a Co-Pay Relief Program that covers PrEP.

Some of the above programs cover PrEP itself, while others cover consultation fees and lab testing. Each program has its own eligibility criteria, so be sure to look into each program before making a decision.

To reduce paperwork and make the process as convenient as possible, consider getting PrEP through a company such as Mistr or Q Care Plus. These companies aim to help you access free PrEP by working with your insurance provider and financial assistance programs.

Who should not take PrEP

You may not be a good candidate for PrEP if you:

  • have hepatitis B or another condition that affects your liver
  • have serious kidney disease

For people who have kidney disease, Ngo says, “Apretude can actually be used […] as it does not affect renal function the same way the oral PrEP options do.”

If you have HIV, you’re not a candidate for PrEP. However, Truvada and Descovy may form a part of your treatment plan in conjunction with other medications. If you test positive for HIV, it’s best to start HIV treatment as early as possible. Learn more about living with HIV.

Another risk to consider before taking Truvada is the chance of decreased bone mineral density. Ngo mentions that “people using Truvada have seen worsening bone conditions such as osteoporosis or osteomalacia (bone softening). This has [been] seen to improve [with] discontinuation of the drug.”

If you’ve been exposed to HIV, you need to wait until you test negative before starting PrEP.

If you’re pregnant or nursing, you might also benefit from PrEP, particularly if your partner has HIV. Talk with a healthcare professional if you’re at risk of contracting HIV while pregnant or nursing.

Things to consider when buying PrEP online

Before purchasing PrEP online, note the following:

  • You’ll need to get tested for HIV every 3 months while on PrEP. Some telemedicine companies allow you to do at-home HIV tests.
  • PrEP can take 7 to 21 days to reach maximum effectiveness. Until then, it’s important to minimize your exposure to HIV (for example, by using condoms, abstaining from sex, and avoiding needle sharing).
  • It is possible to stop and restart PrEP, although consistent use is best. If you’ve stopped using PrEP but want to resume, speak with a healthcare professional.
  • Not all telemedicine companies take all insurance plans. If you have insurance, double-check that the company takes your insurance before you book an appointment.

You should also consider the following questions:

  • Would you be more comfortable discussing your medical history in person or via phone (or computer)?
  • If costs are a concern for you, does online PrEP really work out to be cheaper when you factor in tests, delivery, follow-up fees, and more? (It usually is cheaper, but costs can vary greatly.)
  • If the telemedicine service requires you to have video calls with your healthcare team, do you have decent internet access and a place to talk privately?

Purchase PrEP and other medications only through legitimate, licensed companies that take your privacy and well-being seriously.

PrEP can be a good fit for any HIV-negative person who is at risk of exposure to HIV through sex or injection drug use (needle sharing).

It can be a good idea to use PrEP if you:

  • have sex with an HIV-positive partner or someone whose HIV status you don’t know
  • have an HIV-positive partner and want to become pregnant
  • use injection drugs and share needles with others

If you’re not sure whether PrEP is a good fit for you, consider making an appointment to discuss it with a healthcare professional.

Fast facts about PrEP

  • PrEP can reduce your risk of contracting HIV through sex by about 99% when taken as prescribed.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1.2 million people in the United States could benefit from using PrEP.
  • Only about 30% of people who could benefit from PrEP were prescribed the drug in 2021. This number was only about 13% in 2017, showing that PrEP is becoming more common.
  • In terms of PrEP access, there are major disparities between races and ethnic groups: relatively few Black and Latinx people have been prescribed PrEP.
  • Likewise, women are less likely to be prescribed PrEP than men, even when they’re at risk for HIV exposure.
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If you’re not able to purchase PrEP online, you can get a prescription through any licensed healthcare professional who has the ability to write prescriptions.

Recently, pharmacists in certain states have been allowed to offer PrEP without an outsider’s prescription — in other words, the pharmacists can prescribe PrEP themselves. This is part of a growing movement to make PrEP more accessible, especially to underrepresented groups who may be at risk of contracting HIV.

The states that allow you to get PrEP in a pharmacy are:

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Virginia

You can also get free PrEP from the U.S. government’s Ready, Set, PrEP initiative. The government now offers mail-order options for people who would prefer to receive their medication at home. You can apply on the Ready, Set, PrEP website to see whether you qualify for free PrEP.

Yes. It’s legal to get a PrEP prescription through an online consultation with a licensed medical professional.

Yes. As long as you go through a legitimate telehealth company, getting PrEP online should be safe. Telehealth companies are required to keep your information and communications secure.

Yes. Other healthcare professionals, such as nurse practitioners, can prescribe PrEP. In certain states, pharmacists can prescribe PrEP.

Although PrEP is a prescription medication, pharmacists in certain states are allowed to prescribe it. Currently, those states are:

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Virginia

Common side effects of PrEP include:

Rarer side effects include:

Yes. PrEP can reduce your risk of contracting HIV while sharing needles with others. Truvada is the only PrEP medication approved for preventing HIV through injection drug use.

If you use intravenous drugs recreationally, PrEP can form part of a harm reduction approach, helping to keep you safer.

If you’re at risk for HIV exposure, PrEP can go a long way in preventing it. Using PrEP as prescribed can significantly reduce your chances of contracting HIV.

There are many places you can buy PrEP, including online. Telehealth companies such as Nurx, PlushCare, Mistr, and Q Care Plus offer online consultations to help you access PrEP, making it convenient and simple to get the medication you need.