Same PrEP, new choices: on-demand, periodic or daily

By Chris Williams, updated 6 months ago in Health / Sexual health

Same PrEP new choices text over pill bottle on blue background

Now there are new ways to use PrEP! Whether you want HIV protection for a one-off encounter, full-time coverage or anything in between, there’s a PrEP option to suit you.

It’s been nearly nine years since PrEP hit the mainstream globally. And since it became available on the PBS, nearly 45,000 people in Australia have used it to protect themselves against HIV!

What’s new this year is the different ways you can use PrEP. There are three options to choose from for extra convenience centred on you. Best of all, all options offer equally effective protection to keep you safe from HIV.

Not sure which option might work best for you? Use our PrEP selector tool to discover which way you could take PrEP.

Same PrEP, new choices

Daily PrEP: Classic daily PrEP means you’re good to go anytime, anywhere. One pill once a day protects you around the clock for as long as you want. Get lasting protection for the freedom and assurance of being ready for anything.

On-demand PrEP: Prefer short-term protection just for an evening or weekend instead? On-demand PrEP means using fewer pills at carefully timed intervals over a few days — you might know it as 2-1-1 PrEP. Without the expense and effort of daily pills, PrEP’s now a lot more practical and affordable! Find out more in On-demand PrEP – Powerful HIV protection when you decide

Periodic PrEP: This one’s a winner if you want lots of fun over a specific period. Whether it’s for a holiday, a festival, Pride parties or events like Mardi Gras, periodic PrEP has you covered. You don’t have to use it long-term and it’s flexible enough to party on for as long as you do!

“Best of all, all options offer equally effective protection to keep you safe from HIV.”

Check out the video for more on these new PrEP choices.

There are new ways to use PrEP in Australia! | Emen8

Convenient, flexible, simple, safe

PrEP is safe, effective and available now. Most people find it straightforward to use without any worries. Daily PrEP and periodic PrEP are suitable for people of all genders and sexualities. On-demand PrEP is only suitable for cisgender guys who have sex with other guys. Your doctor can advise what’s best for you.

Depending on your circumstances you can easily extend each option to keep protecting you for as long as you like. Of course, if your situation changes it’s possible to switch to a different option at any time.

“Remember, PrEP is more than just pills – it’s a whole plan for looking after your sexual health.”

Remember, PrEP is more than just pills – it’s a whole plan for looking after your sexual health. The first step is to check in with a doctor for a check-up and to get a prescription.

Any doctor can prescribe PrEP though not all of them might have experience. To find a knowledgeable doctor or seek support, check out Got a PrEP question? Here’s where to find support.

Choose your adventure

We’ve gathered some pointers on what to consider for your circumstances and starting a conversation with a doctor.

Startup time

All PrEP options take time to start working in your body. How long depends on your circumstances.

For cisgender guys into other guys, all PrEP options need a minimum of two hours to start working. After your two hour wait, PrEP’s ready to protect you against HIV. Having sex too soon after your first dose could mean you’re not protected against HIV.

For other folks using PrEP (trans and gender diverse people, cisgender women and heterosexual men) startup times are longer. While clinical evidence supports a fast starting method in cisgender men who have sex with men, this evidence doesn’t yet exist for other populations. This is why it’s best to check in with your doctor to discuss what’s best for you.
You can read more on what’s involved with starting and stopping PrEP for different people in I’m not hooking up. Should I stop taking PrEP every day?

Planning ahead

On-demand PrEP is a great strategy for guys who are OK with planning ahead or delaying sex for two hours. If there’s a chance you might have sex later today, go ahead and take your first double dose while you’re thinking about it. Whether you do or don’t end up having sex, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re protected and ready for wherever your day takes you.

If planning ahead or delaying sex for two hours isn’t for you, it’s best to choose either daily PrEP or periodic PrEP instead.

Doing it right

PrEP can only protect against HIV when you use it the right way. It’s important to know how to use PrEP correctly before you start, so choose an option you can commit to.

Your doctor can help you with ideas for sticking to the right dose at the right time, such using an app or timer on your phone. There’s also great support and advice in online community forums — see below for details.

While it’s always best to use PrEP as advised, sometimes mistakes happen. Having sex too soon after your first dose or missing a dose could affect your protection — contact your doctor as soon as possible to know what’s best for your circumstances. In an emergency, PEP is available to help ensure you stay HIV negative.

That’s a wrap

PrEP is available across Australia now. Click on your state/territory for information on how to get PrEP: ACT | NSW | NT | QLD | SA | TAS | VIC | WA

It’s always best to check in with a doctor before stopping, restarting or changing the way you use PrEP.

PrEP protects you from HIV but it doesn’t protect you against other STIs. Using condoms and testing often can help prevent the spread of most STIs.

Using PrEP involves checking in with a doctor every three months for a sexual health check-up and to top-up your prescription.

Always check the expiry date on medication before you use it and never store PrEP in a hot car, or where extreme temperature or humidity could damage your pills.

This article is produced according to Australia’s PrEP clinical guidelines published by the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM).

For support and advice on choosing, accessing or using PrEP in Australia, get in touch through Messenger or our contact form. You can find Australian PrEP communities on Facebook, including PrEP’D For Change and PAN (PrEPaccessNOW). Alternatively, contact one of our partner organisations in all states and territories.