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PrEP is an HIV prevention method where people take a pill to reduce their risk of HIV by up to 99% - when taken as prescribed.

There are many reasons someone might want to take PrEP, as well as many reasons why it might not be the right prevention choice for everyone. Explore below to learn more about PrEP, so you can make an informed decision about whether it’s something you’d like to talk to a doctor about.

I don’t want to have to worry about my partners’ HIV status

PrEP is an HIV prevention option that can be considered by anyone who is at risk of acquiring HIV. If taken as prescribed, PrEP is 99% effective at preventing the acquisition of HIV from sexual partners.

I can’t find a doctor who knows about PrEP

All doctors in New Zealand are able to prescribe PrEP, but there’s a chance you might run into one who hasn’t heard of it before. If this happens to you, you could direct them to the Ending HIV and NZAF websites to learn about it - this will help you get on PrEP without visiting multiple clinics, as well as helping their future clients stay safe from HIV.

You can also check out our online map that shows you PrEP-friendly providers around New Zealand.

I want to be able to have sex anywhere, anytime

If taken as prescribed, PrEP is proven to be highly effective at preventing HIV acquisition - which means you can make the most of the heat of the moment. Remember that PrEP doesn’t protect you against other STIs, so condoms are still an important prevention tool that you can use while taking PrEP.

I’m not eligible for funded healthcare in New Zealand

If you are not eligible for publicly-funded PrEP, there are options available to you that are still affordable, including a scheme that offers free PrEP for low income New Zealanders and international students.

You can also import generic versions of PrEP from overseas using a prescription from a New Zealand doctor, or buy it directly from a local pharmacy at a higher price.

I don’t know how to get it

The first step in getting a PrEP prescription is to talk to a doctor. After that, there are a few steps, but it’s an easy process.

Check out our guide to see all the steps you’ll need to take to get on PrEP.

It’s too expensive

If you're eligible for funded PrEP, the cost of the medication should be $5 for a three-month supply, plus the cost of a GP visit every three months.

In addition to the initial GP visit/s and prescription fee, PrEP requires three-monthly check-ins for HIV and STI testing, and prescription renewal - so, this will involve a standard GP visit fee.

Remember, if you are not eligible for publicly-funded PrEP, there are options available to you that are still affordable, including a scheme that offers free PrEP for low income New Zealanders and international students.

I don’t want to take medication when I’m healthy

Taking a medication like PrEP doesn’t imply you aren’t healthy. It's a preventative measure to keep you healthy if you are likely to be having condomless anal sex with casual partners.

The potential side-effects are experienced by a small proportion of PrEP users and for people having unprotected casual anal sex, the risk of HIV acquisition is greater than the risk of side-effects.

I don’t want to talk to my doctor about sex

Though a doctor might not be high on the list of people you want to talk to about your sex life, it’s really important to be open and honest with them in order for you to stay as healthy as possible.

Check out our strategies for talking to a doctor about sex, or get help finding a PrEP-friendly provider.

I’m worried about side effects

While most people will breeze through taking PrEP without noticing anything, some may experience side effects. Some reported side effects can include: gas, bloating, diarrhoea, low energy and nausea. Side-effects are usually mild and go away after the first month on PrEP.

Read more about potential side effects here.

I want to have sex without condoms

With up to 99% effectiveness at preventing HIV acquisition when taken as prescribed, PrEP can be your own personal bodyguard. But it’s really important to remember that PrEP doesn’t prevent other STIs like syphilis and gonorrhoea, so condoms are still an important prevention tool.

I’m finding the process confusing

The first step in getting a PrEP prescription is to talk to a doctor. After that, there are a few steps, but it’s a simple process.

Check out our guide to see all the steps you’ll need to take to get a prescription for PrEP.

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