There are a number of different ways you can prevent getting HIV and also protect sexual partners from HIV. There is a range of treatment/medications (PEP/PrEP) that can be taken before and after sex that are extremely effective when taken properly and other safer sex practices.
For further information on how to use and access PEP/PrEP, please see below:
When HIV first gets into the bloodstream, it can take time before the virus permanently infects someone. PEP can prevent this happening, if given quickly enough
PEP is a course of medication that is taken after sex if someone feels they have been exposed to HIV. This may be due
- to a condom failure with someone who is known to be HIV positive and not on effective HIV treatment, or who has a high chance of being HIV positive
- someone being sexually assaulted
It needs to be started within 72 hours after exposure. The sooner the treatment is started, the more effective it is. PEP is not guaranteed to always work but has a high success rate
If you feel you need to take PEP, please call 01582 497070 and state you’d like to talk to someone about a PEP assessment. Your risk will be assessed and we will advise whether PEP is suitable for you, what the treatment involves and possible side effects.
Outside of LSH clinical opening hours, you can go to Accident & Emergency at Luton & Dunstable Hospital (outside of Luton, please check with your local hospital trust)
PrEP is a course of medication that can be taken before sex that can protect you from HIV. It is extremely effective when taken properly. PrEP does not protect you against other STI’s so condoms can also be used along side PrEP.
PrEP is available free on the NHS and from LSH.
If you would like to start PrEP, please call 01582 497070 and ask for a PrEP Doctor appointment. We will book you a telephone consultation to talk to you about PrEP and to assess your suitability. You need to be HIV negative to start using PrEP.
As part of your consultation, we will send you online information about the different ways in which you can take PrEP
As apart of your ongoing care, every 3 months we test for HIV & other STI’s
For more information on PrEP (including where you can buy if you would rather source it differently) please visit the websites below:
Condoms, if used correctly, offer up to 98% protection against STI’s, including HIV.
Condoms and lube are available free from LSH through our condom card scheme. We have a varied range of condoms, including non-latex, flavoured condoms and different sizes.
Condoms can used along PrEP to protect against other STI’s.
Having honest conversations with your partner about sex helps to explore different choices around protection from HIV for everyone involved. Below are some considerations:
- discuss sexual history, including when you/your partner may have last had a sexual health screen
- get screened together
- access free condoms & lube
- discuss if you are HIV positive with your partner and discuss your treatment & care
- accessing PrEP/PEP
- having regular testing for HIV
If you engage in chemsex, there are ways that you can make the sex you have safer and reduce the risk of blood borne infections, including HIV.
LSH can provide slamming kits (as part of a sexual health consultation) that includes equipment that are colour co-ordinated so you and other partners only use equipment belonging to you/them. This includes:
- measuring syringes,
- needle syringes
- spoons with filters
- sharps bin.
It is also important to think of the affects of drugs and alcohol on sexual health decision making – consent, negotiating condom use, types of sexual activities you engage in and sexual performance.