PrEP and PEP


PrEP is a pill you can take before sex that offers near complete protection from HIV. It is a very effective tool for people at risk of HIV, especially those who may find it difficult to use condoms every time.

You can get PrEP from Brook Southend.

What is PrEP made of?

PrEP is made up of two drugs, Tenofovir and Emtricitabine, which are known as antiretroviral medicines and have been used as part of HIV treatment for many years. You may know them by the brand name, Truvada. However, there are generic forms of the drug with the same active ingredients.

​Who would benefit from PrEP?

You could benefit from PrEP if you are considered to be at high risk of HIV. PrEP can be used as a way to reduce your risk of HIV if you are HIV negative and don’t always use condoms.

PrEP is not a vaccine and only provides protection from HIV so long as you continue to take it as prescribed. It is important to remember that PrEP will not protect you from acquiring other STIs. This is an important advantage of using condoms.

It might be a good idea to take PrEP if:

  • You're HIV-negative, at high risk of HIV and you don't always use condoms
  • You've recently had an STI (especially rectal infection orsyphilis)
  • You're using recreational drugs used for chemsex (crystal meth, mephedrone and GHB)
  • Your partner is HIV-positive and isn’t taking their HIV treatment regularly
  • You've recently had to take PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis)

PrEP is safe to use if you're pregnant, breastfeeding/chestfeeding or if you're using hormonal contraception.

Where can I get PrEP?

PrEP is available for free on the NHS from sexual health clinics, including Brook Southend-on-Sea, to everyone regardless of immigration status.

It is possible to buy PrEP online but it is not recommended. There are risks associated with buying medication online and there are specific health risks associated with taking PrEP medication.

However, if you are considering purchasing your own PrEP medication online you should buy it from a reliable source and you should seek advice and support from an NHS sexual health clinic to assess whether the medication is right for you, and to ensure that essential tests are carried out before and during treatment. 


If you think you may have been exposed to HIV within the last 72 hours (three days), it is possible to take anti-HIV medication called PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) which may stop you becoming infected. PEP is most effective if taken within the first 24 hours after potential exposure.

PEP is a 28-day treatment of powerful drugs and is not guaranteed to work. It is only recommended after high-risk of exposure (for example, if a partner is known to be HIV positive).

You can get PEP from Brook Southend and from Southend University Hospital Accident and Emergency Department (A&E).