PrEP to prevent HIV

PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. PrEP is taken by HIV negative people before having sex (pre-exposure) and after sex, to prevent HIV (this is called prophylaxis).

PrEP has been shown in many studies to be safe and highly effective at preventing HIV. When taken correctly, PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV by about 99%.

PrEP is the newest HIV prevention tool available and is best used in combination with other HIV prevention measures.

If you decide to use PrEP, it is important to do this with support from a healthcare professional.

How to get PrEP

PrEP is now available through the HSE. Read more about how to get PrEP.

Benefits of PrEP

If you are HIV-negative and don’t always use condoms, then PrEP could reduce your risk of HIV. 

You may have a higher risk of HIV if you:

  • are having sex with HIV-positive partners who are not on treatment
  • are having sex with HIV-positive partners who are on treatment but not virally suppressed
  • had a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the last year
  • have used HIV PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) in the last year
  • are using recreational drugs for sex, also known as chemsex

Patient information leaflet

Download the PrEP patient information leaflet (PDF, 950 KB, 20 pages).

PrEP and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

PrEP does not protect against other STIs - such as syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhoea and hepatitis C.

PrEP users can combine condoms and PrEP to reduce the risk of contracting other STIs.

Regular STI testing - usually every 3 months - is recommended for people taking PrEP.

Vaccination against hepatitis A and B is recommended for all gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men (gbMSM), people who inject drugs and high-risk heterosexual men and women.

HPV vaccination is recommended for gbMSM up to and including 45 years of age to protect against genital warts and HPV-associated cancers.

These are available for free through public STI clinics.

Read more about STIs