If you are HIV-negative and do not always use condoms for anal or vaginal/frontal sex then you may be at risk of HIV.
PrEP is available through the HSE free of charge to those who are considered to be at high risk of contracting HIV through sex. PrEP is available in some public sexual health services and through some general practice (GP) and private providers.
Find out where to get PrEP from an approved PrEP service provider
PrEP is given through community pharmacies. You will need a drug payment scheme (DPS) card, medical card or long-term illness card to access free PrEP through the HSE.
Anyone with a PPS number can apply for a DPS card. Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about the Drugs Payment Scheme.
If you do not have a PPS number, you can find out more about getting a PPS number - citizensinformation.ie
Who is eligible for free PrEP?
To get free PrEP through the HSE you need to:
- test negative for HIV
- be able to attend follow up appointments, usually every 3 months
- meet at least 1 of the following criteria for free PrEP
1: You are having sex without condoms with HIV-positive partners who:
- are not on HIV treatment, or
- are on treatment but not virally suppressed (do not have an 'undetectable' viral load)
2: You are a man who has sex with men. This includes transgender men who have sex with men or a transgender woman who has sex with men, who meets any 1 ofthe following:
- had anal sex without condoms with more than 1 partner in the last 6 months
- likely to have anal sex without a condom in the next 3 months
- had an STI in the last year
- used HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) in the last year
- used recreational drugs for sex (also known as chemsex) in the last 6 months
3: You are considered to be at high risk of contracting HIV through sex by a consultant in genitourinary medicine or infectious diseases.
If you are not eligible for PrEP
If you do not meet the criteria for free PrEP you can decide to pay for PrEP.
You can buy PrEP through community pharmacies with a prescription.
Who should not take PrEP?
PrEP should not be used if you are HIV positive.
PrEP is not usually needed if you are:
- using condoms consistently and intend to continue using them
- only having sex with HIV-positive partners who are on treatment and have an undetectable viral load for at least 6 months
An undetectable viral load is when the virus exists in such small amounts that it can’t be detected by standard blood tests. It means the level of HIV in your body is so low, it can’t be passed on. This needs to be monitored regularly by a healthcare professional.
Buying PrEP online
It is possible to buy generic PrEP products over the internet.
In Ireland, it is illegal for:
- a person to source prescription medication without a prescription
- medication to be supplied by mail order, including over the internet
The Health Products Regulation Authority (HPRA) have information on the risks of buying medicines online.