I take PrEP to avoid HIV. That's what works for me.


What is PrEP?

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is a medication that HIV-negative individuals take to prevent them from becoming HIV-positive. PrEP is appropriate for anyone at risk of HIV infection and is recommended for gay and bisexual men who engage in condomless sex with partners whose HIV status are unknown.

How does PrEP work?

PrEP creates a barrier inside your body and protects you against HIV.

When taken as prescribed PrEP is a highly effective way of preventing HIV

Does PrEP have any side effects?

Research has shown that PrEP can have some minor side effects including nausea and headaches, however, these usually go away within a week or so. Some people experience no side effects at all. If you do experience side effects that last longer than a week or affect your ability to take PrEP correctly, speak with your doctor.

Everyone taking PrEP will need to see their doctor every 3 months to get a new prescription for PrEP. At these regular visits, the doctor will check to see how you are coping with the medication. It is a good idea to also ask for a full sexual health check while you are there.

How do you take PrEP?

There are several ways you can take PrEP including:

  • Daily;
  • On-Demand; and
  • Periodically.

PrEP is appropriate for anyone at risk of HIV

What is Daily PrEP?

Daily PrEP involves taking a PrEP pill each day. Daily PrEP is recommended for anyone at risk of HIV regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

When taking daily PrEP, it is best to make it part of your everyday routine. Keep it on your nightstand and take it in the morning when you wake up or keep it in the bathroom so you can take it after brushing your teeth. Any daily task can act as a useful reminder to take your PrEP every day.

Watch the below video to find out more about taking daily PrEP.

10 Things You Need to Know About Daily PrEP

For more information about daily PrEP, head to PrEP Access Now (PAN).

What is On-Demand PrEP?

On-Demand PrEP involves taking your PrEP medication at different times when you know that you’ll be having sex.

On-Demand PrEP involves:

  • Taking two pills 2-24 hours before sex; then
  • Taking one more pill 24 hours after the first double dose; then
  • Take one final pill 24 hours after the second dose.

You must take On-Demand PrEP at the right times according to the schedule. If planned and taken appropriately then On-Demand PrEP will protect you against HIV

Is On-Demand PrEP right for me?

On-Demand PrEP is only recommended for:

  • Cis-gendered guys who have sex with other guys who don’t have a chronic hepatitis B infection.

On-Demand PrEP has not been clinically proven to protect trans men, trans women, cisgender women or heterosexual men from HIV.

Are you good at following schedules?

On-Demand PrEP requires that you stick to the dosing schedule closely. Any missed dose will mean that this type of prevention strategy may not work. If you are generally forgetful with taking medication or have trouble keeping track of time, then maybe On-Demand may not be the best option for you. However, there are tips that you can use to remind you of when you need to take On-Demand PrEP, such as setting alarms or reminders on your phone.

Is cost a factor?

On-demand PrEP involves taking fewer pills compared to daily PrEP, so it works out to be more affordable as you take fewer pills over the same time period. If you are experiencing financial hardship which may prevent you from accessing PrEP then head to PrEP Access Now as they might be able to provide access to PrEP.

How often are you having sex?

A common reason guys stop taking PrEP daily is that they are not having sex often enough so taking a pill each day doesn’t make sense. For anyone having sex twice a week or more, daily PrEP is the recommended option — you’ll be ready for action whenever it comes your way.

How comfortable are you with taking pills?

Not everyone is comfortable taking medication every day. On-Demand PrEP might be more appealing because you decide when you want to use it. As long as you can plan ahead or delay sex for at least two hours after you take the medication, On-Demand PrEP can maximise your protection while minimising the amount of pills you use.

If you’re comfortable taking one pill a day, then daily PrEP is a great choice.

To find out more about taking On-Demand PrEP and if it is right for you, please watch the video below.

For more information about On-Demand PrEP, head to PrEP Access Now (PAN).

What is Periodic PrEP?

Periodic PrEP involves taking a PrEP pill each day but only over a particular period. For example, if you are travelling or attending a week-long festival.

You take your PrEP pill each day while you are away and it keeps you protected against HIV for that period. Remember that it is best to make taking your PrEP pill part of your daily routine, especially if you are not used to taking the medication daily.

Periodic PrEP can also be a useful way to start PrEP if you have not been on it before and want to know how your body will react.

For more information about periodic PrEP, head to PrEP Access Now (PAN).

Starting PrEP Again

When COVID emerged it put a temporary pause on the sex we were having. Guys who were using PrEP to prevent HIV considered whether they needed to take it during lockdown because they stopped hooking up with other guys at that time. A recent study found that roughly 40% of guys who were using PrEP stopped taking it during a lockdown.

Now that we can hook up with people again, some guys are starting to consider how they take PrEP and how to get back onto it.

Here is some helpful information and hints on starting PrEP again.

  • When thinking about how to start PrEP again, the first thing to consider is when your last HIV and STI check-up was? If you haven't had a check-up in the last 3 months, you will need to make an appointment at your GP clinic or sexual health centre.
  • Before heading to the doctor, check whether you have any pills leftover and check if they have expired. Make sure they have been stored in a cool, dry place because heat can damage PrEP and make it ineffective in protecting you against HIV.
  • You should also check whether you still have an active script and whether it will expire soon. You may want to check in with your doctor before taking PrEP.
  • Chat with your doctor about the different ways to take PrEP and work out what would work best for you. You can find more information at PrEP Access Now (PAN).

PrEP is a highly effective way of preventing HIV

PrEP, Testing and STIs

Regardless of whether you are using daily, On-Demand or periodic PrEP, you still need to get tested for HIV and other STIs every 3 months. Getting tested regularly is an important part of taking PrEP and also taking care of your sexual health.

Remember, PrEP is only one way to prevent HIV. PrEP does not provide any protection against other STIs. If you decide to stop using condoms or reduce your condom use, then it is important to keep up regular sexual health testing so that if you do get an STI you can easily have it diagnosed and treated.

Where to go

In Australia, there are several options for accessing PrEP. For more information check out PrEP'D For Change or PrEP Access Now (PAN). There are a number of options and costs associated with accessing PrEP depending upon whether or not you have Medicare.

If you have questions about PrEP and want to speak with someone, you can call the HIV prevention information line on 1800 889 887 and speak with a registered sexual health nurse.