PrEP is a daily medication for people who do not have HIV to reduce their risk of contracting HIV. PrEP contains two antiviral medicines used to suppress the virus in people living with HIV. PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, with ‘prophylaxis’ meaning “treatment given or action taken to prevent disease.”
Who should take PrEP?
Any sexually active people who do not have HIV, including heterosexual people, and gay men and men who have sex with men who are at risk of HIV.
How does PrEP work?
Along with other prevention methods like condoms, PrEP can offer effective protection against HIV. If you take PrEP and you’re exposed to HIV through sex or injecting drug use, this medicine can work to prevent HIV.
What are the options for obtaining PrEP?
PrEP can be obtained with a prescription from your doctor or sexual health clinic. If you are considering PrEP, you should discuss this with a doctor with experience in HIV or sexual health to help decide if PrEP is right for you. Your doctor will first check your HIV status and whether you have any other STIs or kidney problems. They will discuss the risk of infection and the possible side effects of PrEP.
It is subsidised by the Government through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for Australian residents who hold a current Medicare card. When you have a prescription for PrEP, you can purchase them at a pharmacy. Once you start taking PrEP, you will need to visit the doctor regularly and have HIV and STI tests every 3 months.
You can also visit the PrEPaccessNOW website for more information on accessing PrEP.
Where can I find out more?
For more information on importing medicines for personal use see the Australian Government’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) website:
For more information on PrEP, ask your doctor or at a sexual health clinic.
In NSW, Positive Life NSW can assist with information about PrEP, eligibility and steps to access PrEP: (02) 8357 8386 or 1800 245 677 (freecall) or firstname.lastname@example.org