PrEP at a Glance

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is antiretroviral drugs taken daily by HIV negative people most at risk of HIV infection to reduce their chances of becoming infected.

If used consistently, PrEP can reduce the risk of getting HIV from unprotected sex by over 90%. However, because it’s not 100% effective, it should always be used with condoms, safer sex practices, clean injection equipment, and other HIV prevention methods.

PrEP is not meant to be a lifelong intervention. It is a method of HIV prevention during periods when a person is at greatest risk of acquiring HIV.

PrEP is available across Kenya and it is free of charge at all public health facilities.

 

PrEP FAQ

What is PrEP?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is antiretroviral drugs taken daily by HIV negative people most at risk of HIV infection to reduce their chances of becoming infected.

How effective is PrEP?

If used consistently, PrEP can reduce the risk of getting HIV from unprotected sex by over 90%. However, because it’s not 100% effective, it should always be used with condoms, safer sex practices, clean injection equipment, and other HIV prevention methods.

How does PrEP prevent HIV?

If you have exposed yourself to HIV, for example by having unprotected sex with someone who is living with HIV or coming into contact with infected body fluid, taking PrEP correctly can stop the virus from establishing itself in your body.

What are the benefits of PrEP?

If used consistently, PrEP can significantly reduce the risk of getting HIV from unprotected sex. It is more effective when used with condoms, safer sex practices, and other HIV prevention methods.

What are the side effects of PrEP?

Some people who take PrEP may experience side effects that last for a short period. These may include headache, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort and often reduce or stop after a few weeks of taking the PrEP.

How should I take PrEP Pills?

For PrEP to be effective, one needs to take it for at least 7 days before any exposure to HIV. Thereafter, the PrEP pill should be taken once a day for as long as a person remains at risk of HIV infection (or as advised by a health care provider). You should not take 2 pills at the same time or on the same day to make up for a missed dose. PrEP best works when used with another prevention method such as condoms.

Am I protected from HIV if I miss a PrEP pill?

When you miss one or more pills, you are greatly reducing the ability of the PrEP to provide you with full protection against HIV infection. Evidence has showed that PrEP provides the best protection from HIV if it is taken consistently every day.

Can I share PrEP with others?

PrEP should only be taken by the person prescribed and should not be shared with others. Anyone who wants to use PrEP should discuss their intention with a health provider.

Who can take PrEP?

PrEP isn’t recommended for everyone. It’s for people who are HIV-negative and at a high risk of HIV infection.

PrEP may be an option for you if you are HIV negative and:

  • You have a sexual partner who is known HIV positive and either: not on ART, has not been on ART for 6 months, suspected of poor adherence to ART, or who has not achieved viral suppression
  • You have sexual partner(s) of unknown HIV status and are at high-risk for HIV infection i.e. have multiple sexual partners, has had STIs, engages in transactional sex, injects drugs
  • You are engaging in transactional sex (sex in exchange of gifts etc.)
  • You have recurrent use of post exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
  • You are a sero-discordant couple trying to conceive
  • You have STI’s frequently
  • You use condoms inconsistently or don’t use them or you are unable to negotiate condom use during intercourse with persons of unknown HIV status

It is advisable for you to seek guidance from a health provider for any further clarification.

If I take PrEP, can I stop using condoms?

No, you shouldn’t stop using condoms. While it significantly reduces your risk of HIV infection, PrEP isn’t fully protective and should be combined with other methods like condoms to reduce your risk even further.

Does PrEP prevent STIs and pregnancy?

No, PrEP does not prevent STIs and it also does not prevent pregnancy. PrEP should therefore be used together with a condom. For females who are on PrEP and do not want to conceive, they should use a family planning method.

Is PrEP a vaccine?

No PrEP is not a vaccine. It does not cure HIV. It is also not a morning after pill.

How is PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) different from Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)?

Even though PrEP and PEP are both taken by HIV negative people to prevent HIV infection, they are different. PrEP is used by HIV negative people who are at ongoing risk of HIV before exposure to reduce their chances of getting HIV. PEP is used by HIV negative people after a possible exposure to HIV but must be taken within 72 hours.

How long can I take PrEP?

Someone can take PrEP for as long as they remain at risk of HIV infection. However, it is important to continue consulting a health provider for advice.

Where is PrEP available?

Currently, PrEP is available at selected public health centers.

Find a PrEP provider near you