Pre-exposure prophylaxis, also known as PrEP, is a new and effective way to help prevent getting HIV infection. Our PrEP Box helps you keep track of your sexual and personal health conveniently from your home when you are taking PrEP medication.
Please note that myLAB Box physician affiliates do not currently issue or renew PrEP prescriptions. You will need to take your lab results to your doctor who will evaluate if you can start taking PrEP or renew your prescription if you are already taking PrEP. If you have any more questions about PrEP after reading details below, please check with your doctor.
What is PrEP?
PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a once-a-day prescription pill for people who do not have HIV infection and want to decrease their chances of getting HIV infection. PrEP is both safe and effective in helping prevent HIV infection, especially if someone is at increased risk for HIV exposure.
Which PrEP Panel is right for me?
If you’re currently taking PrEP, the PrEP Box can provide the required STD and personal health laboratory testing required every three months to continue taking PrEP. Our PrEP test kit allows for convenient home sample collection without having to visit a doctor’s office or clinic. Renewing your PrEP prescription every three months requires having specific tests done. All of these required tests are included the PrEP Box.
What does the PrEP Box include?
There are two types of PrEP boxes. The PrEP Baseline Box is used when you are about to start PrEP. It includes all the necessary tests:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Chlamydia (rectal and genital)
- Gonorrhea (rectal, oral and genital)
- Pregnancy test (women only)
The PrEP Follow-up Box makes your three-month follow-up testing as easy as possible by delivering the PrEP Box to your doorstep when your three-month follow-up testing is approaching. The PrEP Follow-up Box includes all tests in the PrEP Baseline Box except for Hepatitis B & C.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is an infectious disease that can spread through contact with bodily fluids or blood from an HIV infected person. HIV is tested using a dried blood spot to perform a 4th generation antigen/antibody test. This is a highly accurate test and can be positive as soon as about three weeks after exposure.
Please keep in mind, HIV-positive individuals are not eligible to take PrEP. If a PrEP user becomes HIV positive, PrEP usage should stop immediately and begin antiretroviral therapy to treat HIV infection. For more information on HIV, click here.
Hepatitis B (Baseline Box only):
Hepatitis B (Hep B) is an infectious disease that can spread through sexual contact and cause liver damage. Although contracting Hep B is unlikely since most people are vaccinated for this infection, testing for Hep B is still required before someone begins PrEP. The PrEP Baseline Box is the only time you will need to test for this infection. Hep B testing uses dried blood spot to detect antibodies the body makes to fight against Hep B and is widely used to find out if a person is infected or not. If you’d like to learn more about Hep B, click here.
Hepatitis C (Baseline only):
Hepatitis C (Hep C), like Hepatitis B, is also an infectious disease that can spread through contaminated blood or sexual contact and can cause liver damage. Hep C is also only tested once for those about to start PrEP through our PrEP Baseline Box. Just like Hepatitis B, Hep C testing uses dried blood spot to test for antibodies the body makes to combat the infection. If test results are positive for Hep C, confirmation testing is required using blood drawn from the arm rather than a dried blood spot. Interested in learning more about Hep C? Click here!
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can spread through sexual contact with painless sores called chancres. These sores are located mainly on the external genitals. The infection can also spread via syphilis in the anal area and the lips/mouth. Pregnant women with syphilis can infect the fetus leading to congenital syphilis. A dried blood spot is used to screen for syphilis antibodies to help find out if someone is positive for syphilis. The PrEP Follow-up Box can help detect syphilis early so you can be treated promptly. A positive screening test for syphilis requires a confirmation test using blood drawn from the arm rather than a dried blood spot. For more information, click here.
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that can spread by having unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Chlamydia is detected using DNA testing from a rectal swab. Chlamydia is a very common STD, many people don’t usually show visible symptoms. That’s one of the reasons it is important to have three -month follow-up testing when on PrEP. For more information on chlamydia, click here.
Gonorrhea is another common bacterial STD included in the PrEP box. Gonorrhea can spread through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Testing for this STD uses gonorrhea DNA detection from the oral and rectal swabs. Since gonorrhea is very common and most people often don’t show symptoms, follow-up testing every 3-months is required for PrEP users. Learn more about Gonorrhea by clicking here.
Creatinine is a waste product the human body makes from normal muscle breakdown and is filtered through the kidneys and excreted in urine. This blood test measures your level of creatinine which can help show how well your kidneys are functioning. Though very unlikely, one of the side effects of taking PrEP is having slightly increased levels of creatinine. To be on the safe side, creatinine levels are measured routinely while taking PrEP.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I TEST POSITIVE?
If you test positive, instruction will be provided on how to obtain a free telemedicine consultation with a physician in your state. This physician may be able to prescribe treatment for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea or Trich. Depending on the infection, you may also need to retest after treatment to confirm the infection is gone.
It is crucial that you inform your sexual partners of your test results, whether they’re positive or negative. Sharing this information will help stop the spread of any infection and will allow your partners to seek testing and treatment immediately if necessary.
Keep testing. Just because you’ve tested once does not mean that you shouldn’t test again. In fact, it’s common to get infected with certain STDs, including chlamydia and gonorrhea, multiple times. myLAB Box recommends that you test every few months, especially if you’ve received a positive result in the past.