PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. Pre-Exposure means it needs to be taken before sex – and Prophylaxis is a scientific term for something that prevents an infection.
Hundreds of thousands of people across the planet are already taking PrEP, and clinical studies have shown that if PrEP is taken every day it reduces the risk of acquiring HIV by up to 99%. This means that a person on PrEP can have sex with anyone, regardless of their HIV status, and their chance of contracting HIV is extremely low.
But it’s really important to remember that PrEP doesn’t prevent any other STIs, like syphilis or gonorrhoea - so it’s a good idea to keep condoms in the mix to protect from these.
PrEP isn’t for everyone – if you’re using condoms every time you have casual sex, then great! You probably don’t need to be on PrEP. But there are lots of reasons that people might not use condoms every time they have sex – and for these people, PrEP is the best prevention option available.
For most people, the best way to take PrEP is once a day, every day, for as long as you need it. But for others, taking it daily might not be best - check out our information on PrEP 2-1-1, a system some people can use if they only need short-term protection from HIV.