PrEP is the use of anti-HIV medication that keeps HIV-negative people from getting HIV.
Pre – before
Exposure – coming into contact with HIV
Prophylaxis – a medicine to prevent infection
No. It only protects against HIV infection. PrEP does not protect against pregnancy or other sexually transmitted infections.
HIV prevention options include:
All three contain antiretroviral medicines in different combination for different purposes:
PrEP is a pill that has 2 anti-HIV medicines taken daily to prevent HIV for HIV-negative people. PrEP is taken before you think you might be exposed to HIV.
PEP is taken within 72 hours after exposure to HIV (e.g. after rape) for 28 days to prevent HIV. PeP is taken after you think you have been exposed to HIV.
ART is a 3-medicine treatment for HIV-positive people that reduces the levels of HIV in a person’s body. ART helps the body stay strong and helps it fight off infections and other illnesses.
HIV-negative people who take PrEP every day can lower their risk of HIV by more than 90%.
You need to take it once a day at approximately the same time. You can take it within a few hours of your normal time - as long as you only take one pill a day.
It takes up to 7 days to be fully protected. PrEP must be taken daily!
PrEP has been shown to be very safe.
PrEP is also safe with alcohol and drugs, as well as contraceptives and other medicine.
Some people may experience mild side effects when they start PrEP.
The most common side effects include:
In most people, these side effects go away after a few weeks.
No, you cannot get HIV from PrEP. The medications in PrEP work to prevent HIV.
No. It is important that you take PrEP daily while at risk of getting HIV.
When you feel that you are no longer at risk you can talk to your healthcare provider about stopping PrEP.
If you missed a pill, take it as soon as you remember, and continue to take daily as before.
PrEP requires strict adherence to daily medication and regular HIV testing. Where possible, it should be used together with other HIV prevention methods.
If it is used properly, PrEP will play a role in helping to reduce the number of new HIV infections in South Africa.
If you decide that you no longer wish to take PrEP, discuss stopping with a healthcare provider. You will get information for how long after you should continue to make sure you are properly protected.
No. You need to take the pill once a day for at least 7 days before you are fully protected.
Yes, PrEP can be taken with any kind of contraception.
PrEP is an extra HIV prevention option and where possible, should be used in combination with condoms.
Using condoms is still the best way to prevent HIV infection. Condoms protect against STIs and pregnancy when used correctly and consistently.
PrEP should not be used as HIV treatment. HIV-positive people need a combination of three ARVs for treatment, given by the healthcare provider, according to their needs.
Yes. PrEP works when used together with other effective HIV prevention methods. It does not prevent STIs or pregnancy.
First visit: HIV and blood test screening Get your PrEP supply for a month
One month visit: HIV and blood test screening Get your 3-month prescription and collect your pills every month
Monthly visit: Use your prescription to collect your pills every month at your clinic
Every three months: Every 3 months, you return for an HIV test and a new 3-month prescription for PrEP
Taken daily, PrEP is an additional prevention option for HIV negative people
PrEP means taking a pill every day and going for regular HIV testing, NO EXCUSES! PrEP should be used with other HIV prevention methods.
PrEP is for anyone who is HIV-negative and feels they might be at risk of getting HIV.
If you or anyone you know are unsure about taking PrEP, why not try going through this Roadmap to see if PrEP could be a good option for you.
Taking a pill every day for ongoing protection from HIV might not be for everybody, but it is an excellent option for people at high risk of getting HIV. Most people can safely use PrEP, but a healthcare provider will need to determine if there is any reason why you should not take it.
PrEP is for anyone who is HIV-negative and feels they might be at risk of getting HIV. If you are unsure about taking PrEP, why not try going through this roadmap that can help you decide whether PrEP is a good option for you.
No. It is important not to share your PrEP pills. Using other people’s ART pills can lead to side effects, allergic reactions, make the medicine less effective, or you can end up without enough medication.
Currently in South Africa, PrEP is being provided through a limited number of service delivery sites. If you feel you are at risk of getting HIV, and want to find out more about PrEP, search for your nearest PrEP provider using the PrEP finder.
PrEP is a new, safe, HIV prevention method for HIV-negative people who feel they might be at risk of getting HIV.
Taking PrEP is a choice. An HIV prevention choice that is person-centered. If you are HIV-negative and feel you are at risk of getting infected, you can choose to take PrEP for as long as you need to. However, if a person is HIV-positive, they have no choice and have to take ARVs for the rest of their lives in order to be healthy.