What is PrEP?

 

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a form of HIV prevention, meaning that it helps people who are HIV-negative from contracting HIV before they place themselves at risk.


With PrEP, people can proactively take anti-HIV drugs prior to potential exposure to the HIV virus; the presence of the anti-HIV drugs in the body will prevent HIV from being able to enter cells and replicate. In this way, PrEP works to prevent people from acquiring HIV.


If the person taking PrEP is exposed to HIV, the anti-HIV drugs in their body stop the virus from entering cells and replicating. This prevents HIV from establishing itself and stops the person from acquiring HIV.


Research shows that PrEP is highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV, as long as the drugs are taken before and after sex, as directed. It works for men and women, cisgender and transgender, heterosexual and gay. While PrEP can prevent HIV, it does not prevent other sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy.