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PrEP to prevent HIV

PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. PrEP is taken by HIV negative people before having sex (pre-exposure) and after sex, to prevent HIV (this is called prophylaxis).

PrEP is a combination tablet containing two drugs: tenofovir and emtricitabine.

PrEP has been shown in many studies to be safe and highly effective at preventing HIV. When taken correctly PrEP has been found to be about 99% effective.

PrEP is the newest HIV prevention tool available and is best used in combination with other HIV prevention measures.

If you decide to use PrEP, it is important to do this with support from a healthcare professional.

How to get PrEP

PrEP will be available from 4 November through the HSE. Read more about how to get PrEP.

Benefits of PrEP

If you are HIV negative and don’t always use condoms, then PrEP could reduce your risk of HIV. 

You may have a higher risk of HIV if you:

  • are having sex with HIV-positive partners who are not on treatment or whose treatment may not be working
  • had a recent sexually transmitted infection (STI), especially a rectal infection or syphilis
  • have used PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) in the past year
  • are using recreational drugs for sex, also known as chemsex

PrEP and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

PrEP does not protect against other STIs. For example, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhoea and hepatitis C.

PrEP users can combine condoms and PrEP to reduce the risk of contracting other STIs.

Regular STI testing at least every 3 months is recommended for people taking PrEP.

Vaccination against hepatitis A and B is recommended for all gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) and people who inject drugs.

HPV vaccination is recommended for MSM up to and including 45 years of age to protect against genital warts and HPV-associated cancers.

These are available for free through public STI clinics.

Read more about STIs