Aside from protection from HIV, will PrEP protect me from getting other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?

No. PrEP only offers protection from HIV transmission.

Using condoms with PrEP will offer further protection from HIV as well as added protection from other STIs. Once commencing PrEP, your doctor will ask you to test for HIV and other STIs every three months. The relationship you develop with your doctor will mean you test more regularly for STIs, and this is great news. Detecting STIs early means treating STIs early.

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He says he is on PrEP. How do I know if someone I’m having sex with is really on PrEP?

Only you can be sure if you are using PrEP to prevent HIV transmission. If you are not sure your sexual partner is on PrEP (or adhering to PrEP correctly), condoms and water based lube is recommended.

I’m currently using PrEP to prevent HIV. What happens if I miss a dose or two?

Taking PrEP as prescribed by your doctor directly relates to the effectiveness of PrEP in preventing HIV transmission.

Your level of protection will be reduced if you miss any doses. Make sure you discuss any changes to your routine with your doctor. Existing studies may suggest different types of adherence. Your doctor will inform you how best to adhere to PrEP.

There are free mobile phone apps available that can remind you to take medications if you find it difficult to remember to take your pills.

Do I still need to use condoms if I’m using PrEP?

This decision should be made between you and your doctor. Current research shows using PrEP alone can provide very high levels of protection from HIV.

Condoms may offer added protection from HIV transmission and also reduce the risk of acquiring other STIs such as chlamydia, syphilis, herpes type 2 and gonorrhea.

Studies show that of people using both PrEP and condoms, anxiety about having sex safely is significantly reduced. This can mean more enjoyable sex.

Why do I need PrEP if we can use condoms?

Condoms have been a very effective form of HIV prevention for over 30 years and continue to be, however condoms may not work for everyone.

Some guys lose their erection when using condoms or can be allergic to materials found in condoms. Guys using mind altering substances including alcohol may also overlook using condoms at times. These are a few of many scenarios where PrEP can offer that needed protection from HIV, provided they have been taking PrEP as directed.

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Can using PrEP benefit me if I am HIV positive?

No. PrEP is to be used only by people who are HIV negative.

Medication used to treat HIV infection is not the same as using drugs to prevent HIV infection. If you are HIV positive, in order to effectively treat the virus you need to take a combination of medication that may or may not include the medication used for PrEP. Your doctor will need to prescribe medication suited to you if you are HIV positive.

If you are HIV positive and only using a PrEP regime, your body could develop a resistance to the drugs used for HIV treatment. For these reasons it is really important to ensure that you speak to your doctor about any occasions that you may have been exposed to HIV through unprotected sex prior to commencing PrEP.