PrEP Basics

What is PrEP?

Prep stands for pre exposure prophylaxis;

Pr = Pre = before.

E = Exposure = coming into contact with HIV

P=Prophylaxis = treatment to prevent an infection from happening

Prep is an HIV prevention option that works by taking one pill every day. Prep is taken by HIV-negative people to prevent infection.

When taken every day, prep can provide a high level of protection against HIV and is even more effective when it is combined with condoms. 

People who use prep should take the medicine every day and return to their healthcare provider every three months for follow ups and prescription refills 

How does prep prevent HIV?

If you have been taking prep correctly and consistently and have been exposed to HIV, prep works by stopping the replication of HIV in the body. 

How effective is prep?

If used correctly and consistently, prep will reduce your chances of getting infected with HIV. Prep is even more effective when it is combined with condoms.

If I take prep, can I stop using condoms?

No you should not. 

Prep does not protect you from other sexually transmitted diseases and even pregnancy. 

Always use a condom. If used correctly and consistently condoms can protect you from HIV, STIs and unwanted pregnancy. 

Who can take prep?

Prep is only for people who are not living with HIV and are at more risk of infection. Men, women and transgender can use prep.

 Prep may also be a good option for you if 

  • Your sexual partner is living with HIV
  • You are gay, bisexual or a man who have sex with men and have multiple partners and don’t use condoms
  • You are not using condoms during sex with a partner whose HIV status is unknown
  • You are having sex for money 
  • You share drugs injecting equipment such as syringe 
  • You are in a sexual relationship and don’t know the HIV status of your partner

Is prep right for me? 

Thinking about prep to prevent HIV? Here is what to do next. 

Make a list on why you think prep would be right for you. Do your research well and seek out information to help you decide. 

Also think about your routine and what might make it easy or hard to take a daily pill. 

If you decide prep is right for you, definitely make sure you;

  • Take your pill everyday 
  • Follow your health care provider’s advice about how to take your pill

This will give it the best chance to prevent HIV infection. 

Tell your healthcare provider if you have trouble remembering to take your pill or want to stop PrEP

How do I start PrEP? 

Talk to your doctor or health care provider about prep. If you and your provider agree that prep might help, get tested for HIV and other STIs, and test if your kidneys are working well. 

If prep is a good option for you, your provider will give you a prescription. 

Where is prep available?

Prep is available in private and public health facilities. Find a clinic here in our clinic finder (Clinics)

What are side effects of prep? 

Prep can cause some minor side effects but they do go away after some time. 

If you’re taking prep and experience any side effects that are severe or don’t go away, tell your healthcare professional.

Did you learn something?

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