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Protecting Myself

Just like any other STI, to protect yourself and others it is always advisable when having vaginal or anal sex to always use a condom. It is also advisable to avoid sharing sex toys but if you do, wash them or cover them with a new condom before use by anyone else. Remember, you can access free condoms in any sexual health clinic. (Please click the free condoms tab or walk in services tab for further information on how to access them).

What is PrEP?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an HIV prevention medication, meaning that it helps people who are HIV-negative from contracting HIV.

PrEP works to prevent people from acquiring HIV. If the person taking PrEP is exposed to HIV, the PrEP stops the virus from entering cells and replicating. This prevents HIV from establishing itself and stops the person from acquiring HIV.

Research shows that PrEP is highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV. There are a few ways PrEP can be taken. It works for men and women, cisgender and transgender, people of any gender identity and any sexual orientation. While PrEP can prevent HIV, it does not prevent other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or pregnancy, which can be prevented using barrier methods of contraception (e.g. condoms).

Who is PrEP for?

  • Anyone of any age, sex, gender identity of sexual orientation can take PrEP
  • PrEP is particularly recommended for individuals at increased risk of contracting HIV, including:
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM), or their partners
  • Sex workers or people who exchange sex for money or drugs
  • Anyone of any gender who is from, or who has a partner from, countries with high rates of HIV prevalence (see list below)
  • Women who are considering getting pregnant, and who have a partner with HIV
  • People having sex with those at high risk of HIV infection
  • People who consistently do not use condoms for sex
  • People who have been diagnosed with an STI in the past six months
  • Transgender women
  • People who inject drugs and have an injection partner with HIV, or who share needles, syringes, or other injection equipment.
  • People who have a sexual partner with HIV (especially if their partner has an unknown or detectable viral load)

PrEP, Women, and trans-women

  • PrEP is not just for gay or bisexual men
  • Women can and should consider taking PrEP, too!
  • Puts HIV-prevention firmly in your control, either on its own or as part of your STI/pregnancy prevention toolkit
  • PrEP can be very empowering for women, as it supports them to be in control of their own sexual health
  • PrEP could help protect women and babies from getting HIV during pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding
  • PrEP does not affect gender-affirming hormones, no do gender-affirming hormones affect the effectiveness of PrEP

PrEP and Heterosexual People

  • PrEP is not just for gay or bisexual men
  • PrEP is for heterosexual peoples, too, especially if:
  • Monogamy is uncertain or unlikely
  • They don’t know your partner’s HIV status, and believe they might be at risk
  • They have a long distance partner, who might have other partners, particularly if they are living in or travelling to at risk countries
  • They have sex with people from communities at high risk of HIV, including MSM or people from high-risk areas
  • One or more of your partners is known to be HIV positive, but has an unknown or detectable viral load
  • You cannot guarantee safe sex
  • You cannot negotiate condom use, and have concerns about HIV risk factors
  • You are from a culture that does not encourage regular condom use, and have concerns about HIV risk factors

How to get it

  • PrEP is now available for FREE at sexual health clinics across the UK
  • Roll out is slowly happening across the UK; call ahead
  • See below links for other ways to access PrEP
  • Before accessing PrEP, you will need to have a full STI screen and a blood test

Useful links:

Countries with high HIV prevalence see

Do you have Symptoms?

If you have symptoms you should get yourself tested to avoid infection developing and from transferring it to someone else.

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