What is PrEP and where can I get it?
PrEP is a drug taken by HIV-negative people before and after sex that reduces the risk of getting HIV.
Taking PrEP before being exposed to HIV means there’s enough drug inside you to block HIV if it gets into your body.
The medication used for PrEP is a tablet which contains tenofovir and emtricitabine (drugs commonly used to treat HIV).
PrEP is now available free on the NHS in England from sexual health clinics. For more information on PrEP, including details of your local service, click here.
It’s important if you’re using PrEP that you go for regular STI screenings every three months.
What is PEP and where can I get it?
PEP stands for post-exposure prophylaxis.
PEP is a combination of HIV drugs that can stop the HIV virus taking hold. It can be used after the event if you’ve been at risk of HIV transmission.
To work, PEP must be taken within 72 hours (three days), and ideally should be taken within 24 hours.
PEP is an emergency measure to be used as a last resort, such as if a condom fails during sex. It is not guaranteed to work and taking PEP will not protect you from other sexually transmitted infections.
PEP is available on the NHS for free but is only given to people who meet guidelines about its use.
The best place to get PEP is a sexual health clinic. If you need PEP over the weekend or outside of office hours, when clinics will often be closed, the best place to go is an Accident and Emergency department.
PEP is not normally available from GPs.