Learn about PrEP

  • navigate_next   What is the difference between PrEP, PEP, and ART?
  • navigate_next   Why should a person take PrEP now when they can take ARVs if....

How does PrEP work ?

  • navigate_next   How well does PrEP work?
  • navigate_next   How often should PrEP be taken?
  • navigate_next   How long does it take for PrEP to work?
  • navigate_next   Is PrEP Safe?
  • navigate_next   Does PrEP have side effects?
  • navigate_next   Can taking PrEP cause HIV?
  • navigate_next   If a person is taking PrEP, should they stop using condoms when having....
  • navigate_next   Does PrEP prevent STIs or pregnancy?
  • navigate_next   What happens if a person who is HIV-positive takes PrEP?

Who can take PrEP ?

  • navigate_next   Who should take PrEP?
  • navigate_next   Why should a person take PrEP when they can take PEP?

Where is PrEP available?

What is the difference between PrEP, PEP, and ART?

All three contain antiretroviral medicines in different combination for different purposes:

PrEP is a pill that has 2 anti-HIV medicines taken daily to prevent HIV for HIV-negative people. PrEP is taken before you think you might be exposed to HIV.

PEP is taken within 72 hours after exposure to HIV (e.g. after rape) for 28 days to prevent HIV. PeP is taken after you think you have been exposed to HIV.

ART is a 3-medicine treatment for HIV-positive people that reduces the levels of HIV in a person’s body. ART helps the body stay strong and helps it fight off infections and other illnesses.

Why should a person take PrEP now when they can take ARVs if they get HIV?

Taking PrEP is a choice. An HIV prevention choice that is person-centred. If a person is HIV-negative and feel they are at risk of getting HIV, they can choose to take PrEP for as long as they need to. However, if a person is HIV-positive, they have no choice and have to take ARVs for the rest of their lives in order to be healthy.

How well does PrEP work?

HIV-negative people who take PrEP every day can lower their risk of HIV by more than 90%.

How often should PrEP be taken?

PrEP should be taken once a day at approximately the same time. It can be taken within a few hours of the normal time - as long as only one pill is taken per day.

How long does it take for PrEP to work?

It takes up to 7 days to be fully protected. PrEP must be taken daily!

Is PrEP Safe?

PrEP has been shown to be safe.

PrEP is also safe with alcohol and drugs, as well as contraceptives and other medicine.

Does PrEP have side effects?

Some people may experience mild side effects when they start PrEP.

The most common side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Depression
  • Abnormal dreams
  • Vomiting
  • Rash
  • Problems sleeping
  • Changes in appetite

In most people, these side effects go away after a few weeks.

Can taking PrEP cause HIV?

No. PrEP does not cause HIV. The medications in PrEP work to prevent HIV.

If a person is taking PrEP, should they stop using condoms when having sex?

No. Using condoms is still the best way to prevent HIV infection. PrEP is an extra HIV prevention option and where possible, should be used in combination with condoms.

Does PrEP prevent STIs or pregnancy?

No. PrEP does not prevent STIs or pregnancy.

Using condoms correctly and consistently is still the best way to protect against HIV, STIs and unwanted pregnancy.

What happens if a person who is HIV-positive takes PrEP?

PrEP should not be used as HIV treatment. HIV-positive people need a combination of three ARVs for treatment, given by the healthcare provider, according to their needs.

Who should take PrEP?

PrEP is for anyone who is HIV-negative and feels they might be at risk of getting HIV. If you are unsure about taking PrEP, why not try going through this roadmap that can help you decide whether PrEP is a good option for you.

Why should a person take PrEP when they can take PEP?

A person should decide for themselves, based on their life experience, if PrEP or PEP is a good option for them.

It is very important to remember that PrEP is taken BEFORE exposure to HIV, while PEP is taken AFTER exposure to HIV.