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PrEP – The Facts

What is PrEP?

It is a tablet that taken once daily can stop you from getting HIV.

It stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis.

What is HIV?
  • HIV = Human Immunodeficiency Virus
  • This virus (HIV) makes the immune system weaker. It then makes the person more likely to be sick from other infections.
  • HIV is found in the blood and sexual fluids of an infected person
  • If HIV is not treated, the infection can lead to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome – knows as AIDS
  • There is treatment available for HIV, known as ART. Click on ‘what is ART’ to learn how it controls HIV
What is AIDs?
  • If HIV is not treated, the infection can lead to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome – AIDS
  • AIDS is not a disease but means that your immune system is very weak
  • Once you develop AIDS, your immune system will not be able to fight off diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and influenza
What is ART?
  • Antiretroviral therapy (ART) are medicines to treat HIV infection
  • ART is a combination of HIV medicines taken every day
  • ART is recommended for everyone who has HIV
  • There are very few side effects with ART
  • People with HIV should start ART as soon as possible
  • ART reduces the risk of HIV transmission.
  • ART reduces a person’s HIV level so that the immune system is strong again.
  • ART will help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives
What is U=U?
  • U=U – Undetectable Viral Load = Untransmittable HIV infections
  • Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a treatment for HIV
  • ART can decrease the levels of HIV in your body
  • Regular blood tests will test your HIV levels
  • If you have undetectable levels of HIV in your blood, it means you cannot transmit the virus to someone else
  • This is now known as Undetectable viral load equals Untransmittable HIV infections (U=U)
Who should use PrEP?

PrEP is a tablet that taken once daily can stop you from getting HIV.

PrEP may be a good choice for you if:

  • Your partner is HIV positive
  • You have sex with multiple partners
  • You inject drugs
  • You are having sex with someone and don’t know their HIV status
  • You are having sex with someone from a place that has a large number of people living with HIV
  • You often get STIs in your anus or vagina

The best way to find out if PrEP is right for you, is to book in with a doctor who can prescribe PrEP. Find a suitable doctor near you.

You can also watch these videos, which show who PrEP may be suitable for.

How much does PrEP cost?

The cost of PrEP varies from place to place. The cheapest you can get is approximately $20 a month. There are ways to get PrEP more cheaply.
You can find all the pricing details here.

What are the side effects?

Some people who use PrEP experience:

  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • stomach cramps

Read more about side effects here.

Where can I access PrEP?

You can get PrEP at a pharmacy, such as MyChemistWarehouse or you can order PrEP online.

Usually, it is much cheaper to order PrEP online. However, if you order online and import PrEP it is not covered by Australian regulatory standards. This means it can’t be guaranteed that it’s actually the drug that it says it is.

Get much more information about accessing PrEP here on the Prep Access Now website.

Can any doctor prescribe PrEP?

Yes, all Australian GPs can prescribe PrEP. However, some may not have heard of the drug before. You can use this map to find doctors that are known to prescribe PrEP near you.

Do I have to go to my normal family doctor or can I see a different one for PrEP?

All Australian GPs can prescribe PrEP. However, some may not have heard of the drug before. You can use this map to find doctors that are known to prescribe PrEP near you.

Where can I fill my PrEP Script? Can I go to any Chemist?

All Australian chemists can dispense PrEP. You can find a cheap PrEP chemist here.

Is PrEP covered under Medicare?

Yes, if you have a Medicare card and a valid prescription, you can purchase PrEP medication for a discounted rate at retail pharmacies in Australia. 

If you do not have a Medicare card please check www.PAN.org.au for useful information about access to PrEP, including buying PrEP medication online.

PEP versus PrEP - what's the difference?

Put simply, PrEP is a tablet you take BEFORE activity that would put you at risk of contracting HIV. PEP is taken AFTER.

What is PEP?
  • PEP = Post-exposure prophylaxis
  • PEP is a 4-week course of tablets (medicines) taken after an experience that may put you at risk of getting HIV
  • It is effective in preventing HIV infection if started within 72 hours of exposure.
  • PEP works by stopping the virus from replicating
  • You can get PEP medicines from sexual health clinics, hospital accident and emergency departments, and other specialised HIV health centres.

 

Is your question not listed here? You might find it on the PrEP Facts website here.