What’s PrEP?

PrEP is a new way to reduce the risk of HIV

PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis and it involves taking an anti-HIV medication daily to provide protection against HIV infection by preventing it from becoming established in the body.

Studies show PrEP reduces HIV risk by 92% to 99% if taken every day – if a daily dose is missed, the level of HIV protection may decrease. It only works if you take it.

Those studies also showed that PrEP helps reduce HIV risk in men who have sex with men, transgendered women, heterosexual men and women, and people who inject drugs.


Doesn’t PrEP just give people an excuse not to use condoms?

PrEP is part of a prevention toolkit, one of a variety of options that people can take to protect themselves – including condoms.

Why can’t I just use condoms?

Sometimes things conspire against using a condom. Studies show that many people do not use condoms for anal or vaginal sex with a partner even when they aren’t sure of their HIV status.

Is PrEP for me?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then PrEP might be for you:

Do you use condoms sometimes or not at all?

Do you get often get STIs in your butt?

Have you taken Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) more than once in the past year?

Is your sexual partner HIV-positive with a detectable viral load and you are HIV-negative?

Are you in an open relationship or having sex with multiple partners?

Are you having sex with someone whose HIV status you don’t know?

You can also use this scorecard to find out if you’re at risk of HIV

Does PrEP work?

Studies show that, when taken daily, it’s 92% to 99% effective.

Can I just share the HIV drugs of my friend?

It’s not a good idea to share prescription drugs and the drugs may not work for PrEP.

What drug is used for PrEP?

In Canada, the only medication approved for PrEP is Truvada (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine) – Health Canada recommends that it be used daily to be effective.

How do I know that it’s working?

You won’t feel anything (most people don’t experience side effects) to know that it’s working. That’s why it’s important to take it every day.

Does PrEP help with STIs too?

No. You still need to use condoms to protect against STIs and should be tested regularly and treated promptly if you get an STI.

What happens if I get HIV while on PrEP?

It is possible to get HIV while on PrEP if you miss doses. Your doctor tests you for HIV at every clinic appointment and will help you get set up with an HIV clinic if that happens.

I already have a family doctor, can I see them to get on PrEP?

Yes, your family doctor can get you started on PrEP. If they have questions on how to start, coverage issues or monitoring we are happy to help; your family doctor can call us at the clinic and we can give them a hand.

Have more questions?

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