PrEP offers women almost 100% protection against HIV when taken correctly.

PrEP offers women almost 100% protection against HIV when taken correctly.

PrEP offers all women protection during both vaginal and anal sex.

When PrEP might benefit you

PrEP will not be the best choice for everyone but it is worth thinking about if:

  • condoms are not easy to use or not always used when you have sex
  • you’ve recently had a vaginal or rectal sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • you’ve recently had PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis)
  • you have sex with people whose HIV status you don’t know
  • you have sex with people who are HIV positive but not known to be virally supressed/undetectable
  • you have sex with people from communities that are disproportionately impacted by HIV
  • you have sex in cities or countries outside the UK where HIV affects a high proportion of the population.

You do not need PrEP if your only sexual partner is HIV positive with a undetectable viral load. They cannot pass on the virus even without condoms.

Starting PrEP: how long it takes for PrEP to protect you

Women need to take PrEP every day for 7 days to be protected against HIV.

Using PrEP

If you have vaginal sex we recommend Daily PrEP.

This is the same for:

  • cis and trans women
  • neo-vaginal sex for some trans women.

If you have receptive anal sex only there are more dosing options. We recommend daily PrEP for all trans people using hormone treatment as we don’t have sufficient data to support other dosing options.

More information on starting and taking PrEP.

Stopping PrEP – temporarily or permanently

You can decide to stop taking PrEP whenever you want. But don’t stop taking the pills on the day you decide.

You need to keep taking your daily dose for 7 days after your last risk of exposure to HIV – condomless sex, for example.

Starting PrEP again

You can choose to start taking PrEP again whenever you want.

You will need:

  • an HIV test if you’ve had a risk of exposure – condomless sex for example – since stopping PrEP
  • to take a daily dose for 7 days before relying on PrEP to protect you from HIV. This allows full protection to build up in your system.

PrEP and contraceptives, conception and breastfeeding

When you take PrEP, you CAN:

  • Take hormonal birth control – ‘the pill’. It is safe and both will work if taken correctly.
  • Get pregnant. PrEP prevents HIV, not pregnancy.
  • Conceive and carry a baby. It is safe for you and your baby.
  • Breastfeed safely.
  • Take feminising hormone therapy safely and effectively if you are a trans woman. PrEP will not stop the hormones working, or cause fat redistribution in the body or face.

PrEP and STIs

You might want to take other precautions, such as using condoms, to help prevent all STIs other than HIV.

Why PrEP questions are important

You might get asked personal questions about your sex life when you talk to a sexual health professional or counsellor about starting PrEP, or sexual health and HIV prevention in general.

You might worry about feeling upset, uncomfortable or embarrassed. Perhaps you are not used to talking about private or intimate issues. You might worry that people will think badly of you.

Please be reassured: the person asking the questions is there to help you. You should always be treated with kindness, empathy and respect.

These questions – and your answers — will get you the best advice on how to protect yourself.

PrEP gives you control

Several factors put some women at an increased risk of becoming HIV positive. PrEP can be the best way for them to reduce their risk.

For example:

  1. You are HIV negative and think, or know, that your partner is having sex with other people.
  2. You know this puts you at risk of becoming HIV positive, but
  3. it is not possible for you to ask him to use a condom.
  4. You take PrEP, as instructed, and you are protected from HIV.
  5. Now you have the power to control your own HIV prevention.
  6. With PrEP, you don’t have to rely on anyone else.

Where to get PrEP (UK)

When you’re sure you’re HIV negative, you can buy 3 months of PrEP at a time, legally and safely online using one of our tried, tested and reliable sellers.

You can access free NHS PrEP in some cases.

More PrEP resources:

  • Women PrEP Facts has some great information.
  • Our PrEP tool will help you decide if you need PrEP, when to stop taking it and how to make sure you’re taking it correctly.