Can You Get A STI While on PrEP?

Key Takeaways

However, many people are concerned about the safety of PrEP, and some wonder whether PrEP can protect them from other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The short answer is no. PrEP does not protect against STIs. PrEP only protects against HIV. Therefore, it is important to practice safe sex, including condoms, to protect against STIs. 

 Let's explore STIs and PrEP—essential knowledge for maintaining your safety and well-being.

What is PrEP?

PrEP is a medication used to help reduce the risk HIV transmission. It is extremely effective at lowering the risk of HIV infection as long as it takes daily. PrEP is a combination of two drugs, tenofovir and emtricitabine, both antiretroviral medications (medications that stop HIV from reproducing), and it is available by prescription. 

How Does PrEP Work in the Body? 

HIV is transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids, such as semen and blood, which happens during sex or through injection drug use. PrEP helps protect against HIV by blocking the virus from reproducing in the body and preventing it from entering the cells by stopping it from reproducing in the body. It does this by blocking the virus from attaching to the cells in the body. If the virus cannot attach to the cells, it cannot reproduce and can't cause an infection. 

When you take PrEP each day, it builds up in your body and stays in your bloodstream. This is why taking PrEP every day is important- so it can work as effectively as possible. Without taking PrEP daily, you are at greater risk of getting HIV. PrEP is not a guarantee against HIV - but it is a very effective tool in helping to reduce your risk. 

Does PrEP Protect You From Other Things Besides HIV? 

No, PrEP only protects against HIV. PrEP does not protect you from other sexually transmitted infections (STIs),, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and herpes. It is important to practice safe sex and use condoms to lower the risk of spreading STIs. 

It doesn't work against STIs that PrEP targets HIV, not other viruses, bacteria, or parasites that can lead to other STIs. PrEP specifically works against the reproduction of HIV and does not target other infections. 

Herpes, for example, is caused by a virus that PrEP does not target. Even if you are taking PrEP, you can still get herpes if you have unprotected sex or sexual contact with someone infected with the virus. The same goes for other STIs like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis. 

How Can You Avoid STIs While Taking PrEP 

Using condoms correctly whenever you have sex is the best way to reduce the risk of STIs. PrEP does not offer protection from any STIs apart from HIV. Therefore, it is important to practice safe sex, including condoms, even if you are taking PrEP. Additionally, you should get tested regularly for STIs to identify and treat any infections quickly. 

Condoms also offer protection from HIV, but PrEP is more effective. PrEP has a greater than 99% success rate at reducing the risk of HIV if taken consistently, whereas condoms are about 98% effective. Therefore, the combination of condoms and PrEP is the most effective way to protect yourself against both STIs and HIV. 

Can You Avoid STIs and STDs Without Condoms? 

It is not possible to avoid sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) without the use of condoms. Condoms are the only form of protection that can help lower the risk of transmitting STIs and STDs because they are barriers between two people's skin. The use of condoms is the only way to reduce the risk of transmission of these diseases.  

It is also important to practice safe sex, like limiting the number of sexual partners you have, to reduce your risk of getting STIs and STDs. 

This means that when using PrEP, it is also necessary to use other protection methods, such as condoms, to ensure the highest level of protection against STIs and STDs. 

What Are the Symptoms of STIs? 

The symptoms of STIs vary depending on the type of infection. Common STI symptoms include pain or burning during urination, abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina, and sores or bumps on the genitals. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to get tested right away. 

STIs can often be asymptomatic, especially in women. Therefore, it is important to get tested regularly,, even if you do not notice any symptoms. The Canadian Centre for Disease Control recommends that all sexually active people get tested for STIs at least once a year. 

Conclusion: PrEP Does Not Protect Against STIs 

In conclusion, PrEP is an effective medication used to help protect against HIV, not STIs. Therefore, it is important to practice safe sex, including condoms, to protect against STIs. Combined with PrEP, these practices can help reduce the risk of HIV and other STIs. 

Medically reviewed by


No items found.
Get on-demand treatment for your everyday health.
Find your treatment