Pre-exposure prophylaxis

Pre-exposure prophylaxis

Pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP is the use of an antiretroviral medication to prevent the acquisition of HIV infection by uninfected persons. PrEP is taken orally, using an antiretroviral drug available for treatment of HIV infection (tenofovir plus emtricitabine), The most common brand name of oral medication used for PrEP is Truvada. Although generic formulations are available in many countries at lower prices.

The World Health Organization (WHO) now recommends that people at substantial risk of HIV should be offered PrEP as an additional prevention choice . In 2014 WHO recommended offering PrEP to men who have sex with men (MSM). On the basis of further evidence of the effectiveness and acceptability of PrEP, WHO has now broadened the recommendation to include all population groups at substantial risk of HIV infection.

WHO suggests that PrEP should not displace or compete with effective and well-established HIV prevention interventions, such as comprehensive condom programming for sex workers and MSM and harm reduction for people who inject drugs. Many people who could benefit most from PrEP belong to key population groups that may face legal and social barriers to accessing health services. This needs to be considered when developing PrEP services. The decision to use PrEP should always be made by the individual.

More information issued by the World Health Organisation:


PrEP in the United Nations

PrEP is a recent addition to the world of HIV prevention and therefore information is changing rapidly. At the moment PrEP is covered by United Nations insurance schemes for staff members and recognized dependents who are covered by each policy or plan. For the medication to be covered you will need a doctor’s prescription. Coverage will be the same as for any other medication, which means that you may be liable for a portion of the cost (usually 20% or a standard medication co-pay, depending on your insurance plan).

Depending on which country you are working in, doctors may be able to prescribe - or not - the medication to be used as prevention. This depends on national medical protocols.

This website can provide information about the state of PrEP approvals in each country. Bear in mind that the website is not affiliated to the UN and is being suggested only as a reference.

If you have a question about PrEP in the United Nations please contact us through our online form or reach out to the nearest UN Clinic or to the medical service of your employer organisation.