PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) can protect against HIV and makes sex safer for adults at high risk of infection.

PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a type of treatment method. When used in conjunction with other HIV prevention measures, it dramatically reduces the risk of HIV sexual transmission with adults who are at risk.

Dr. Derek Freedman – Sexual Health and STI Specialist

In February 2018, a survey undertaken by Gay Community News Ireland and sponsored by Teva Pharmaceuticals Ireland, examined a number of areas in relation to PrEP such as; sexual health, sexually transmitted infections (STI), attitudes on HIV and awareness and use of PrEP amongst the gay community.

There were 622 respondents to the survey, of which 97% were male.

I want to know more about PrEP

What is it and how does it work?

PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a type of treatment method used in conjunction with safe sex to prevent HIV infection.  PrEP helps to protect your body’s infection-fighting T-cells from being overwhelmed by HIV.

How effective is it?

Taken daily, PrEP in conjunction with safe sex practices can protect against HIV for adults with high risk of infection. PrEP is not a cure for HIV or AIDS, nor is it an HIV vaccine.

Who should take it?

PrEP is suitable for anyone who is HIV-negative and has a high risk of infection to HIV. PrEP can be used by anyone regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.

Do I still have to use condoms when taking PrEP?

Yes. While PrEP in conjunction with safe sex practices can reduce your chance of HIV infection, it won’t protect you from other STIs, like syphilis, gonorrhoea or chlamydia, or stop pregnancy.

How often do I take it?

To ensure maximum effectiveness, you should take PrEP once every day.

You can read more about how and when to take PrEP in the HSE’s official PrEP pamphlet [PDF].

Are there any side effects?

Like any treatment, some people may experience side effects taking PrEP. If you’re taking PrEP, you should visit your sexual health clinic or see your Doctor every three months for a consultation and check-up.

Where can I get more information about PrEP and safer sex practices in Ireland?

Information on PrEP is available in a large and growing number of pharmacies and sexual health clinics in the Republic of Ireland. HIV Ireland have a full list of pharmacies so you can find the one closest to you.

What happens after that?

If you start taking PrEP, you must be prepared to do so under medical supervision. This means that every three months you need to:

  • Get tested for HIV and other STIs
  • Get tested for side effects of PrEP and have your kidney function checked
  • Make appointments with a doctor for supervision on how to keep on taking PrEP

You will need a prescription from your doctor before you can take PrEP.

You must have an HIV test before taking it—PrEP will not protect you from HIV if you already have it.