PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Propylaxis. PrEP is an oral antiretroviral medication. It is a HIV prevention option that may be considered for anyone who is HIV negative but at risk of getting HIV. PrEP is safe, well tolerated and almost 100% effective when used by adults who are able to take the medication as prescribed. PrEP can be used as a daily tablet or it can be taken “on demand”. Our doctors can help you decide which would be best for you.
Potential side effects from PrEP include:
• Upset stomach, loss of appetite, weight loss and mild headaches. These side effects often resolve within the first month of starting PrEP.
• PrEP can affect your kidney and bone health.
• Rarely, PrEP can cause liver problems
Since April 2018, PrEP has been subsidised by the Australian Government on the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS). As such, PrEP is now widely affordable for all Australians with a current medicare card. Any GP or doctor can prescribe PrEP. After the initial assessment appointment with your doctor, on going prescriptions of PrEP require 3-monthly review visits for ongoing monitoring of kidney, liver and bone health, plus STI testings.
PrEP is different from PEP
– PrEP is Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, using regular oral medication by HIV negative people who are at risk of getting HIV, to prevent acquisition.
– PEP is a Post-Exposure Prophylaxis. It is usually a 28 day course of daily medication, prescribed to an individual who is accidentally exposed to HIV. This medication needs to be initiated as soon as possible post exposure, ideally within 72 hours. In Australia PEP is readily available at hospital emergency departments or at sexual health clinics.
Please speak to your doctor about PrEP for more information.