There is now excellent evidence that if you are HIV negative, taking medication in advance (prophylactically) is highly effective in preventing you from acquiring HIV if you are at risk of being exposed. This is known as PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis).
People at high risk of HIV are eligible for PrEP in Australia. Currently PrEP is recommended for sexually active gay and bisexual men (cis and trans) who have sex with men (MSM), transgender people, heterosexual people whose partner is known to have HIV and undetectable viral load, and people who inject drugs.
Talk to your Doctor about PrEP if you are considering taking it. It involves an initial screen to make sure that you are HIV negative, as well as baseline STI and kidney tests. Once taking it, it generally involves a check with your Doctor every 3 months, depending on how you take it.
PrEP is now available on the Pharmaceutic Benefits Scheme (PBS) since April 2018 if you hold a Medicare card. For those who don’t, it is still accessible for importation via a reliable overseas supplier / pharmacy. You will still need a script from your GP though to import it.
There are currently 3 different ways to take PrEP – daily, intermittent or periodic, and on-demand.
Talk to your Doctor about which method is best for you.
Currently on-demand PrEP is not advised for some groups as it has not been fully studied in these groups, so talk to your Doctor about whether it is right for you.
Taking PrEP doesn’t mean that you can have unprotected sex without worry as it doesn’t protect you from other STIs. Condoms are still recommended if you take PrEP and are worried about other STIs. And there are also risks in taking PrEP outside the supervision of your Doctor.
For more information: