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Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV

The recently launched HIV Prevention Clinic/Risk Reduction clinic runs several times per week in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust GUM clinic. It has been set up to provide testing for STIs, to make behavioural interventions aimed at reducing the risk of contracting HIV and to provide access to the HIV prevention drug PrEP.

Prep stands for pre-exposure HIV prophylaxis. It is taken as a pill on an ongoing basis by someone who does not have HIV, but may be at risk from the illness. PrEP is an antiretroviral drug, the same type of pill used to treat someone who is already HIV positive.

All GUM clinics in Northern Ireland will be offering initial consultation and assessment appointments. Those eligible will then be referred to a centralised service based in Belfast.

The project will run for two years. If PrEP is accessed as part of the pilot, those eligible will need to visit a sexual health clinic four times a year.

To access PrEP in Northern Ireland, you need to be;

  • over 16
  • able to attend for regular three month reviews in Belfast
  • willing to stop taking PrEP when no longer eligible
  • resident in Northern Ireland
  • HIV negative and have tested for HIV at a clinic in the previous 12 months

You will also need to meet one or more of the following criteria;

  • HIV negative and expect to have condomless sex with an HIV positive partner/s with a detectable viral load
  • HIV negative and have had condomless sex in the past three months and think you will again in the next three months
  • you are a cis or transgender man who has sex with men or a transgender woman
  •  you don’t meet the previous descriptions, but you have been clinically assessed as being at similar high risk of becoming HIV positive

This is not a definitive guide and eligibility will be determined by clinicians. If you think you would benefit from accessing PrEP, you should attend your nearest GUM clinic for an assessment.

Further information on PrEP can be found at;

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