Alongside providing effective treatment for people living with HIV, some medications used for the condition have also been shown to be effective at preventing new infections.
PrEP (or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis to give it its full name) involves the use of HIV medications by those without the virus as a means of preventing infection. In recent years, a number of high profile studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of PrEP for anyone at risk of HIV.
People at the greatest risk of HIV in Scotland will soon be able to access PrEP on the NHS following a decision by the Scottish Medicines Consortium.
Although it may take some time for local NHS board areas to assess how they will offer PrEP, individuals looking for information and advice now can still get in touch. You can send your questions and comments to our SX Health Improvement Worker, Alastair Rose.
While PrEP reduces the chance of you becoming infected with HIV, it does not prevent other sexually transmitted infections. Condom and lubricant use, and regular testing remains a fundamental part of maintaining good sexual health and wellbeing.
PEP (or Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) involves the use of HIV medications by individuals who have been exposed to HIV as a way to reduce the risk of infection.
PEP is currently available on the NHS, usually through sexual health clinics or hospital emergency departments. However, it is only prescribed in certain circumstances to those who are at greatest risk of HIV. PEP is more effective the sooner it is started after you think you may have been at risk of HIV. Ideally this should be within the first 24 hours, though PEP may be offered up to 72 hours after exposure.