The best way to prevent HIV is to use a condom for sex and to never share needles or other injecting equipment (including syringes, spoons and swabs). Knowing your HIV status and that of your partner is also important.
People living with HIV who have been undetectable on antiretroviral treatment for 6 months or more are not at risk of transmitting HIV to their sexual partners (U=U, Undetectable = Untransmittable).
If you're HIV negative, you may be able to take HIV prevention medication called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to reduce your risk of acquiring the virus. PrEP is available for some people who are at high risk of HIV infection – for example, those whose partner is HIV positive, but not yet undetectable on treatment.
PrEP IMPACT Trial
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is an effective way of preventing HIV infections. It's taken by HIV negative people before having sex.
There are two drugs used for PrEP: Tenofovir and Emtricitabine which are co-formulated in a single pill.
In England PrEP isn't currently available via the NHS. This is due to change, but unfortunately roll out of PrEP to sexual health services in England has been delayed due to the COVID-19 crisis.
In the meantime, people who are at high risk of acquiring HIV have been able to access PrEP via the IMPACT trial or by self-sourcing PrEP online.
The IMPACT trial is closed to Sexual Health Wirral patients, as all of the limited spaces have been filled.
If you are currently accessing PrEP via the IMPACT trial please download the participation information leaflet from Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to find out how you will be able to access PrEP once the trial ends.
You should not self-source and start PrEP without first speaking to a doctor because you will need an assessment and testing to ensure it is safe for you to start PrEP. You will also need regular monitoring whilst taking PrEP. If you live in Wirral you can contact our team on 0300 123 5474 and arrange a telephone consultation with one our doctors to discuss this further.