Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is the use of antiretroviral medication (specifically Tenofovir/Emtricitabine) to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV. If taken every day this medication significantly reduces your chance of acquiring HIV.
It is important to consider both the benefits and risks of starting PrEP. If you are to start, make sure that you are doing it for your own reasons, rather than for anyone else’s benefit.
It is important that you evaluate your own risk of acquiring HIV, or if you’re unsure, to speak to a sexual health clinician. While PrEP is a highly effective strategy in preventing HIV, there are other highly effective strategies out there, including U=U and condoms.
Prior to starting PrEP, the clinician will test you for your HIV status, if you have any symptoms of a new HIV infection, your other STIs and Hepatitis status, as well as your kidney function levels. PrEP also requires ongoing kidney function monitoring on a three-monthly basis, as it can take a toll on your kidneys. This is done when you come in for a PrEP follow-up to receive your three-monthly script.