A guide to PrEP

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22 Jan 2016

WHAT IS PREP?

PrEP — pre-exposure prophylaxis — is a prevention strategy for people undertaking high-risk sexual behaviour; it provides an alternative option for a person to protect themselves against HIV. 

However, the most important thing to remember about PrEP is adherence: PrEP will not work if you don’t take it as prescribed — a single pill, once daily.

HOW DOES PREP WORK?

It works by impacting on the virus’s ability to establish itself in the body, and therefore greatly reduces the possibility of an HIV-negative person becoming HIV-positive. PrEP will not, however, protect you against contracting a sexually transmittable infection; condoms are the best option to prevent STIs. 

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PEP AND PREP?

PEP is a short course of HIV treatment taken after exposure to HIV to prevent it from establishing itself in the body, whereas PrEP is an HIV treatment taken daily in order to protect against exposure in the first place.

PrEP highlights the really exciting advances made in HIV prevention because for the first time ever, an HIV-negative person now has a biomedical treatment option to prevent transmission.

IS PREP AVAILABLE IN AUSTRALIA?

The HIV medication Truvada has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for licensing as PrEP in Australia. It is not yet available at a subsidised price through Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS FOR OBTAINING PREP?

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.

If you are after more infoormation about accessing PrEP, contact our Treatments Officer on (02) 8568 0305.

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