PrEP is a medicine which is taken to reduce the chance of getting HIV. It works by having enough of the drug in your body that if you are exposed to HIV, it can block it before it has a chance to infect you. Taking PrEP once every day reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90% and by more than 70% among people who inject drugs.
PrEP is available in Irish pharmacies but you need a doctor’s prescription in order to buy it. The medicine can only be used by HIV negative people, so before it is prescribed you must also have a HIV test
The cost for PrEP in Ireland is normally around €100 per month.
If you are thinking about taking PrEP you should speak to a healthcare professional.
It is important to have a HIV test before you start PrEP and then regular tests when you are taking PrEP. It is also important to test for Hepatitas B because PrEP medicines fight against both HIV and hepatitis B and the medicine needs to be taken more carefully if you have hepatitis B.
Before taking PrEP you should also get a blood and urine test to check your kidneys for creatinine and have a test for other STIs
There are different ways you can take PrEP. The most common and effective way is taking one pill a day, every day. This is the only recommended way for people who inject drugs or who have hepatitis B.
When you start taking PrEP you have to get the drug levels high enough in your body before it begins to protect you.
If you are taking PreP, every three months you should have:
- A HIV blood test
- A full screen for other STIs
- Have your urine tested for protein and if there is any found have additional blood tests done to check your kidneys
Every 12 months:
- Have blood tests to check your kidney functions