What is PrEP?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a medication you can take to reduce your risk of HIV infection. The tablets contain Tenofovir and Emtricitabine (Truvada) and are also used in the treatment of people living with HIV. People who at high risk of becoming infected with HIV are eligible for PrEP, if you are unsure whether you are eligible we can provide advice.

There are different ways of taking PrEP, depending on things like the type of sex you are having. The main ways to take PrEP are either every day or before, during and after a specific event. If you are having vaginal or frontal sex, the only safe way to take PrEP is every day.

Information for people already taking PrEP

We review people taking PrEP every 3 months. If you are due a PrEP appointment please arrange a sexual health screen through Sexual Health London and contact us a couple of weeks before you run out of tablets to arrange a PrEP consultation


What is PEPSE?

Post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV after sexual exposure (PEPSE) is a four week course of HIV medication you can take after unprotected sex or a condom accident, to reduce your risk of becoming HIV positive. PEPSE must be started within 72 hours of the unprotected sex or condom accident. It is best to start PEPSE as soon as possible.

We can provide PEPSE at our specialist centres: the Ambrose King Centre and the Sir Ludwig Guttmann Centre.

If our sexual health centres are closed, you can access PEPSE at your nearest emergency department

Additional information for PEPSE

I think I need PEPSE – what should I do?

If you think you might need PEPSE, you should arrange an urgent appointment with us or go to your nearest emergency department (open 24 hours a day).

If you arrange an appointment at one of our specialist centres you will have a telephone consultation with a clinician who will assess the risk of HIV transmission. Your clinician will decide whether to prescribe PEPSE and advise you accordingly.

Does PEPSE work?

Research shows that PEPSE makes infection with HIV less likely. However, PEPSE doesn’t work every time – some people who take it still become HIV positive. It can fail because the anti-HIV medication is not active against a particular strain, or because the medication is not taken properly.

Additional information for PrEP

PrEP is for people who are at high risk of HIV. If you are unsure whether you are eligible for PrEP, please discuss with a member of our team.

What increases my risk of HIV?

  • Condomless sex
  • Having sex with people who are HIV positive and not on treatment, and / or have a detectable viral load
  • Having sex with people whose HIV status you don’t know
  • Having sex with people who are at high risk of HIV

Does PrEP work?

Research has shown that PrEP is very good at reducing the risk of HIV. In research trials those who became HIV positive whilst on PrEP either weren’t taking PrEP correctly, or became infected with HIV before they started PrEP.