Guides

PrEP for women

Why should women take PrEP?

Women who are at high risk of HIV can use daily PrEP as a way to stay HIV negative.

The highest risk for HIV is if you don’t always use condoms with a partner or partners who might be HIV positive. But only if they are either not on treatment or not taking all their meds.

Condoms protect against HIV. HIV positive people cannot transmit HIV if they have undetectable viral load on treatment.

Other reasons to consider PrEP

  • If condom use is difficult or impossible to negotiate.
  • If you have sex for money, or receive gifts for sex.

AND

If your partner or partners might be at risk of HIV.

For example:

  • If your partner is from a country where HIV is common.
  • If your partner is bisexual or has other partners.
  • If you have recently migrated to the UK.
  • If you or your partners inject drugs and share injecting equipment.

Contraception

It is safe to use PrEP with all hormonal contraception (ring, patch, the pill, or an implant). PrEP will not affect your contraception. And contraception will not affect PrEP.

Pregnancy

If you are planning a pregnancy or not using contraception, daily PrEP can make sure that you don’t become HIV positive.

But if you know that your partner is HIV positive, it is better for them to be on treatment first. If their viral load is undetectable, there will be no additional benefit from you using PrEP.

However, if you become pregnant while taking PrEP, please talk to your doctor about whether or not continuing PrEP will be right for you.

Breastfeeding

Outside the UK, many women living with HIV use PrEP drugs as part of HIV treatment during breastfeeding.

Only very small amounts of FTC and TD are present in breast milk. These low levels are not harmful.

This suggests that daily PrEP can be used safely if you breastfeed.

UK website on women and PrEP

UK community websites with lots of information about PrEP and women.

Last updated: 1 November 2019.