Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a HIV medication that when used consistently, reduces the risk of HIV infection during sex by over 90%. WHO PrEP guidelines currently recommends the use of PrEP taken daily for both men and women who are at substantial risk of acquiring HIV. Daily PrEP use provides the highest amount of medication in the blood and body tissues and, thus, the highest level of protection. If you take PrEP daily, you may still be protected, even if you miss a dose occasionally.
In July 2017, WHO published a tool for implementing PrEP programs with suggestions for the introduction and use of PrEP based on the available evidence and experience. This document includes information not only for clinicians, but for educators and activists, counselors, opinion- makers, pharmacists, regulatory agencies, planners and evaluators, testing providers, PrEP users, and adolescents and young adults.
Substantial risk of HIV infection includes someone in a high HIV prevalence population or geographical location who has had any of the following risk factors in the past six months:
- vaginal or anal sexual intercourse without a condom with more than one partner, OR
- a sexually transmitted infection (STI) by laboratory testing or self-report or syndromic STI treatment, OR
- has used post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for sexual exposure in the past six months
In addition, PrEP can protect the HIV-negative partner in a serodiscordant relationship when the HIV-positive partner is either not on antiretroviral therapy (ART) or has not yet achieved viral suppression.