HIV pre-exposure prophalyxis (PrEP) is a medication people can take to protect themselves from HIV. PrEP is taken before and after a potential exposure to HIV. It combines two drugs commonly used to control the virus in people living with HIV. When taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective at preventing HIV.
Talking to your friends and partners about PrEP
People living with HIV are in a unique position to provide advice and support to their friends and partners who are considering or currently using PrEP.
PrEP can empower HIV negative people to protect themselves from HIV. But as people living with HIV, we know that prevention is always a partnership. When our partners choose to use PrEP, conversations may involve sharing our HIV status, negotiating sex without condoms and understanding the risk of HIV transmission.
Understanding the science behind PrEP and HIV transmission can help with these conversations. If you would like to build on your knowledge, you can find out more information in the Further Reading section below.
For help with telling people about your HIV status see our disclosure guide, or talk with a peer support worker. You may also consider sharing some of the information in this section of our website with your partners.
Who is PrEP for?
PrEP is for HIV negative people. Your friends or partners may choose PrEP as their preferred form of HIV protection.
The decision to take PrEP will depend on personal circumstances and risk of being exposed to HIV. Some people take PrEP every day, and other only during times when they are at more risk of HIV.
PrEP is now available to anyone seeking to protect themselves from HIV. This includes gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, heterosexual men and women, trans and gender diverse people and people who use drugs.
Is PrEP Effective?
PrEP is one of the most effective forms of HIV prevention available. Studies have proven that PrEP reduces the risk of HIV transmission by at least 99 per cent. For more information on these studies, visit www.prepfacts.org.
PrEP does not prevent other sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy.
How to take PrEP
PrEP is a tablet that can be taken daily or on-demand as prescribed by a General Practitioner (GP). A PrEP program involves regular testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, as well as monitoring for side effects.
A GP can talk to you about the different ways of taking PrEP. Daily PrEP involves taking one pill every day. On-demand PrEP can be used daily for short periods of time or around single events of HIV exposure. Currently, on-demand PrEP is only recommended for men who have sex with men.
How to access PrEP
PrEP can now be accessed through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) at a subsidised cost. Any doctor can write a prescription for PrEP which can be taken to any pharmacy for dispensing. If PrEP is accessed in this way, a PBS co-payment at the pharmacy will need to be made.
If a person is not eligible to access PrEP through Medicare, any doctor can write a private prescription. This can then be dispensed at a community pharmacy, but the cost is higher than for PBS-subsidised medicines.
Another option for people without Medicare importing a generic version of the drug using the Therapeutic Goods Administration Importation Scheme. PrEP can be purchased online at a lower cost from a reliable overseas supplier. A prescription from a doctor is still required before ordering online. There are multiple overseas suppliers who will supply PrEP for import into Australia at a range of costs.
The ASHM website contains a provider locator and patent letter to assist with seeking a prescription for overseas purchase and importation. The PrEP Access Now website has more information on personal importation.
Sharing your HIV status:
Information and research about PrEP:
HIV transmission and prevention:
Prescription and importation: