What is PrEP?

What is PrEP?

PrEP is a medicine that can be taken daily to help reduce your risk of HIV acquisition. It contains the active drugs tenofovir/emtricitabine and has been used as a HIV treatment for many years. PrEP is different to PEP, in that you take it in advance of sex, rather than afterwards, as an emergency.

It is now available on the NHS in England but following the completion of the IMPACT clinical trial. It is also available via the NHS in Scotland and via the PrEPARED project in Wales.

How effective is PrEP?

How effective is PrEP?

The success of PrEP is measured by how well it reduces the risk of acquiring (catching) HIV. A wide range of results have been reported from PrEP studies, with some finding high effectiveness and some finding that PrEP made no difference.

For men who have sex with men (MSM) the two most significant studies to date (PROUD and IPERGAY) found PrEP reduced your risk by 86%. Our experience in the clinic is that it is likely to be even more effective than that.

For women and heterosexual men the results are mixed. The key difference in results is linked to what we call adherence ie. how regularly you take the medication.

We are learning more all the time through PrEP research, including the IMPACT trial.


Did you know, PrEP can be taken two ways?

Did you know, PrEP can be taken two ways?

  • DAILY dosing (taking it every single day, at the same time)

or, alternatively

  • ON DEMAND or EVENT BASED DOSING (taking it before sex, and for 48hrs after)
Do I need it?

Do I need it?

PrEP is recommended for people at higher risk of HIV acquisition. In the UK this is most likely to be MSM who have condomless anal sex. HIV is most easily passed on through condomless vaginal or anal sex. However PrEP may also be suitable for some women, although daily dosing in women is essential, rather than event based dosing.

Condoms remain the primary way to prevent most STI’s. If you use condoms consistently, then we would not encourage you to swap them for PrEP.

I think I might need PrEP, where can I get it?

I think I might need PrEP, where can I get it?

PrEP is now available in the clinic – please call us to discuss if you are interested.

PrEP is also available to buy online here at iwantprepnow.co.uk, or via the PrEP shop at 56 Dean St.

Some prescription or over the counter medicines cannot be taken alongside PrEP. Please speak to a doctor or nurse at the clinic, or your GP if you are taking, or are planning to take other medicines alongside PrEP. You can also check for interactions here


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Accessing our service during the COVID pandemic

How to access our service:

We have now implemented a telephone triage system for all of our clinics. This system will be in place for the duration of the pandemic. Please contact our services to access this triage system. Our central telephone number is 0300 303 3989.

If you are experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus please do not attend the clinic. Clear advice for people with symptoms of coronavirus is available at nhs.uk/coronavirus .

Advice from our service:

We have updated information on the provision of routine contraception during this pandemic here.

We are currently prioritising these groups for coil and implant (LARC) fits:

  • Those with vulnerabilities including but not limited to those who are: <18, attending abortion and maternity services, homeless, sex workers, victims of sexual assault, people with language barriers, drug and alcohol problems, learning disability, serious mental illness
  • Those aged <30 years

More details on LARC fittings at our service are found here

There is also specific advice on coronavirus available for People Living with HIV here, and for pregnant women here

Self-requested Sexual Health screening by post is available for for under 25s only - more info here

For others with testing requirements please contact the service on 0300 303 3989.

Information is now also available to advise on sexual contact during a time of social distancing here.

Alternative provision:

Please be aware that we may have to cancel, rearrange or shut clinical services in response to changing clinical and staffing pressures created by the Coronavirus pandemic. 

If you are struggling to access sexual health services, alternatives may be available:

  • Emergency Contraception - at your local pharmacy - more info
  • Contraceptive pills and LARC procedures - obtained from your GP
  • HIV postal testing - available to at-risk groups for a small fee -  more info
  • HIV PEPSE - available via A+E departments - more info
  • Condoms by post (for gay and bisexual men only) - more info