PrEP: HIV prevention with medication

Taking medication to protect yourself against HIV is called PrEP. Anyone who is taking PrEP correctly and gets regular check-ups is protected from an HIV infection.

PrEP is one way of protecting oneself from HIV. PrEP is a medication in tablet form. PrEP stands for «Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis». Taken correctly; it protects HIV-negative people from contracting HIV. Whoever takes PrEP under medical supervision, is reliably protected against HIV and does not have to worry about the HIV status of their sex partner(s). PrEP is Safer Sex, just like a condom. PrEP does not protect against other sexually transmissible infections (STI’s) such as gonorrhoea or syphilis. And by the way: Even a condom does not provide enough protection from other STI’s.

Do I need PrEP?

If you answer Yes to one of the following questions; then PrEP is maybe a protective option for you:

  • Are you a men having sex with men and do you have difficulties using condoms?
  • Do you often have sex under the influence of alcohol or other drugs with multiple partners?
  • Do you have sex for money and hold back from using a condom at the request of the customer?
  • Do you have a period of time ahead involving a lot of sex (a holiday for example) and are you unsure as to whether you will always use a condom?
  • Are you unprotected from HIV as a result of your sexual preferences?

How can I get PrEP?

PrEP is prescribed by a healthcare professional. Recommended are professionals who meet with the SwissPrEPared criteria.

  • Before starting PrEP, a medical consultation takes place. HIV and STI tests are carried out and further blood levels are also checked.
  • It is important that you are HIV-negative. If not, there is a danger of infecting other people and developing resistance.
  • Once you have started with PrEP, you should have regular check-ups to see if you are experiencing any side effects; you should also have a STI test.
  • This is why it is worth having a regular discussion with a healthcare professional. The PrEP is usually very well tolerated, even when taken over a longer period of time.
  • The costs depend on a number of factors. Make sure you get advice. A solution can be found.

How does PrEP work?

When someone is infected with HIV, the transmission occurs via mucous membranes. This is where the HI-Virus enters the body. You already have a natural protection in the mucous membrane of your mouth, which is why practically no HIV infections occur during oral sex. With the mucous membranes in the penis, the vagina and the anus; you must protect yourself with condoms or PrEP.

How do I take PrEP?

In order for PrEP to work and to make sure that you are protected from HIV; you must start with PrEP on time. It is equally important that you take PrEP for a long enough period after the last time you had sex. You can find out more about this in a counselling session.