METRO 216.714.2223
UH 216.286.7737

Can I take PrEP while on birth control?

by | Jul 15, 2021 | PrEP 101

You’ve probably heard before that PrEP is like the birth control pill but for HIV. And, well, that’s a pretty accurate description. This leaves some folks wondering, though, if they can take both. And simply put, yes!

Does PrEP interfere with birth control?

Most forms of antiretrovirals (ARVs) are safe to take while on hormonal birth control for pregnancy prevention. These ARVs include HIV treatment, Truvada, and several others. One brand of ARVs has shown to be problematic when combining with hormonal birth control— Sustiva (efavirenz).

In 2015, researchers ran a review of 50 reports from 46 studies to determine the safety of combining ARVs and hormonal birth control. POZ.com says, “They looked for changes in the effectiveness, toxicity and pharmacokinetics (how the drugs are metabolized, including changes in drug levels in the body) of each treatment.” 

Their results showed a very minimal amount of drug interactions, except for Sustiva. They found that the ARV could reduce the effectiveness of most hormonal birth control methods except for the implant. There were not any findings that birth control reduced the effectiveness of ARVs.

Should I take both PrEP and birth control?

While it is safe for you to take both, your doctor can help you determine if you should swipe left on both prescriptions! 😉

How do you know if you’re a good candidate for PrEP? For starters, if you’re not living with HIV but have a risk of being exposed. This includes if people who have a partner living with HIV. Candidates also include people using injection drugs.

Get PrEP for FREE (or really cheap)

What makes someone a good candidate for hormonal birth control? Well, honey, there’s a laundry list for this one. You could want to prevent pregnancy, regulate your menstrual cycles, reduce menstrual symptoms, reduce hormonal acne, manage endometriosis, reduce risk of anemia and ovarian cysts, and uterine cancer, and it gives you the freedom to get your period on YOUR terms (pretty awesome, huh?). There’s a number of different methods of hormonal birth control — the pill, patch, vaginal ring, IUD, shot, implant… we could go on forever. Which one is best for you? Talk with your doctor about the ins and outs (no pun intended 😉) of each one to help you find out.

What are the benefits of taking both?

Say it with me now: Worry-free sex! Not having to worry about HIV or pregnancy? Um, sign me up, please! Both medications have proven to reduce overall anxiety — even after sex. I mean, who wants to lay in bed at night wondering if they were exposed to HIV? Oh, and one other cool little tidbit: most insurance programs cover most – if not all – costs of PrEP and birth control.

Wait, you’re telling me that I can have worry-free sex for as little as $0? Yes, I am! 🥳 So what are you waiting for? Start by getting in touch with our PrEP navigators today to talk about PrEP. They’re here to answer all of your questions and get you on the track to get started!

Ask for help connecting to a doctor for PrEP.

Fiona Allan, University Hospitals
Call 216.286.7737
AKeem Rollins, MetroHealth
Call or Text 216.714.2223

Email AKeem at Metro for PrEP

Email Fiona at UH for PrEP