HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

What is PrEP?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is the use of medication by a HIV-negative person to prevent HIV infection. PrEP is a tablet containing a combination of two drugs that are also used to treat people living with HIV, Tenofovir and Emtricitabine.

 

Is PrEP for me?

PrEP is suitable for you if you are at medium to high risk of HIV infection. For example, if you are a man who has sex with men (MSM) without using condoms and/or you have a sexual partner who has HIV and is not on treatment. PrEP may also be suitable for you if you are a heterosexual man or woman, transgender person on someone who injects drugs depending on your level of HIV risk.

PrEP is not recommended for people who consistently use condoms, who have partners who are HIV negative and/or who have partners who are HIV positive with an undetectable viral load.

Is PrEP effective? Several large clinical trials have shown that PrEP significantly reduces the risk of HIV infection. For people who take PrEP as prescribed by their doctor, PrEP prevents almost 100 per cent of HIV infections. PrEP does not protect you against other sexually transmissible infections (STI) like syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhoea. When you are taking PrEP, it is important for you to consider STI prevention and have STI screening every three months, as advised by your doctor.

 

Is PrEP safe?

Clinical trials also provided safety information on PrEP. Some people in the trials had early side-effects such as nausea, loss of appetite and headaches, but these were mild and usually disappeared within the first month. No serious side effects were observed. A small proportion of people taking PrEP may experience changes in their bone mineral density or develop kidney damage. It is important for you to have regular kidney tests while taking PrEP, and your doctor may also recommend bone density testing.

 

What do I have to do to get PrEP?

If you are interested in accessing PrEP, speak to us at Top Health Doctors Greenslopes branch to see if you are eligible. Please note this is specialised service and there may be a gap fee for this service. If you are likely to benefit from taking PrEP, blood tests to assess your kidney and liver function, in addition to an HIV test, will be done. Once you have met the eligibility criteria and want to start PrEP, you will be given a prescription. The prescription can be filled at any pharmacy but it is a good idea to phone ahead and check if the pharmacy has some in stock, or they need to order it in.

 

How frequently will I need to have appointments with my doctor once I start taking PrEP?

Taking PrEP will require you to visit your doctor every three months. You will have STI screening, blood tests for HIV and other tests to see if your body is reacting well to the medication. You will also receive information about how to reduce your risk of acquiring HIV and STI.

Would you like to speak to our staff about PrEP?

Please note this is a specialized service that is available only at Top Health Doctors Greenslopes.

Please ring (07) 3847 3108 to find out more.