PrEP (Generic Truvada)

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About Product
This content has been written and checked for quality and accuracy by
Mohamed Imran Lakhi Content Administrator GPhC: 2060586 Updated on: 26/05/2020 Next review: 26/11/2020

About PrEP (Generic Truvada)

PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a prescription medicine used to reduce the risk of contracting HIV in HIV-negative persons who are at a greater risk of contracting the virus.

In studies, PrEP has been shown to be over 90% effective at preventing HIV transmission in HIV negative persons when used correctly.

Your dosage of PrEP may change based on how frequently you have sex and how far in advance you plan on having sex. You should discuss this with your doctor to find the most effective method of taking PrEP for you.

You don't need to take PrEP for the rest of your life. You only need to take it while your risk of contracting HIV remains high. Those in monogamous relationship need not take PrEP.

You can buy PrEP online from Prescription Doctor's trusted online pharmacy. All medicines are dispatched from a UK pharmacy in discreet packaging.

How does PrEP work?

The two ingredients of PrEP (Tenofovir and Emtricitabine) inhibit an enzyme needed by HIV to develop and replicate. As a result, the chances of becoming infected are greatly reduced.

When taken daily, PrEP can reduce the risk of HIV transmission via sex by more than 90% transmission via injectable drug use by 70%. Please note that PrEP does not protect against other unwanted sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis. Condoms should be used each and every time you have sex while using PrEP to prevent the spread of other STDs.

While PrEP can reduce the risk of contracting the virus, it does not treat those who are already HIV-positive. Before using this medicine, it is important to know your HIV status by taking a HIV blood test.

While taking PrEP, it is important to arrange regular tests to ensure that you remain HIV negative.

Taking PrEP while HIV positive may result in treatments being used to treat HIV becoming ineffective.

Who can take PrEP?

PrEP is intended for those who are considered at an elevated risk of contracting HIV, including:

  • Men who have unprotected sex with men (gay and bisexual men)
  • Cisgender women who have unprotected sex with men who have sex with men
  • Transgender women
  • People who have unprotected sex with persons who have lived or travelled in areas with a high prevalence of HIV
  • People who inject drugs and share drug paraphernalia
  • People who have sex with people who inject drugs and share drug paraphernalia

HIV can be transmitted through semen, vaginal fluids, blood (including menstrual blood) and anal fluids. It is important to always practise safe sex and use condoms to prevent the spread of HIV and other STIs.

The eligibility criteria may be different for you, depending on where you live. Your doctor will be able to determine whether you are at an increased risk of HIV and provide further information on ways to protect yourself from contracting the virus.

PrEP is not necessary if you are in a monogamous relationship with someone who is HIV positive but has an undetectable viral load.

PrEP for men

Men at an increased risk of HIV include:

  • Men who have unprotected sex with men (gay and bisexual men).
  • Men with an HIV positive partner or their partner's HIV status is not known.
  • Men with multiple partners.
  • Men whose partner has multiple partners.

Safe sex should be practised to prevent the spread of STIs, including HIV.

Men who engage in unprotected receptive anal sex are at a higher risk of contracting HIV than those who do not. Cuts in the mouth or anus (anal fissure) can also increase your risk of contracting the virus during unprotected sex. The NHS recommend wearing condoms each time you have sex and using water-based lubricant during anal sex to prevent damage to the skin.

PrEP has been tested to be safe in men. No adverse affects on male fertility have been noticed in men taking PrEP short term or long term.

PrEP for women

Women at an increased risk of HIV include:

  • Women who have unprotected sex with men who have sex with men (bisexual men and transgender women).
  • Women with an HIV positive partner or their partner's HIV status is not known.
  • Women with multiple partners.
  • Women whose partner has multiple partners.

It is important to always practise safe sex by using condoms to prevent STIs and unwanted pregnancy. The NHS recommend using water-based lubricants to prevent friction which may lead to anal or vaginal tearing and prevent condoms from breaking.

PrEP does not affect fertility in females or interact with hormonal contraceptive pills. Moreover, PrEP is safe to take by women who are trying to conceive, pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are planning on having a baby while taking PrEP, it is important to speak to your doctor for further advice on reducing your risk of HIV.

It is important for women to undergo regular testing for HIV, especially during pregnancy to ensure that they remain HIV negative while seeking treatment.

PrEP for transgender women

Transgender women at an increased risk of HIV include:

  • Transgender women who have unprotected sex with men who have sex with men.
  • Transgender women with an HIV positive partner or their partner's status is not known.
  • Transgender women with multiple partners.
  • Transgender women whose partner has multiple partners.

For trans women, the NHS recommend using water-based lubricants, to prevent friction during anal and vaginal sex which might cause tearing of skin and condoms, which further prevent the risk of HIV and other STIs.

PrEP does not interact with hormone replacement therapy being used by trans women, nor has it been noticed to affect fertility. If you are concerned about taking PrEP while taking feminising hormones, speak to your doctor.

How to take PrEP

There are two ways of taking PrEP, though for most people it is recommended to take PrEP once a day to prevent HIV.

Daily dosing

PrEP should be taken once daily to reduce the risk of contracting HIV.

Take one pill at the same time every day with a glass of water. If you have trouble swallowing tablets, you can crush the tablet and mix it with 100ml of water or juice and drink immediately.

This medicine is effective after 7 days of consecutive daily use.

Missing a dose of PrEP may increase your risk of contracting HIV.

On-demand PrEP

You can also take PrEP on-demand surrounding a time when you believe you will be exposed to the virus.

Take 2 tablets between 2 and 24 hours before you plan on having sex.

Take 1 tablet 24 hours after having sex.

Then take 1 tablet 24 hours after that. (48 hours after sex)

Further information on dosing

Speak to your doctor to find the most suitable dosing pattern for you. Depending on the risk involved, one method may be preferable over another.

Truvada side effect

All medications carry the risk of side effects. Always read the patient information leaflet enclosed with your medication. Only take the medicine as prescribed.

Common side effects include:

  • headache
  • diarrhoea
  • dizziness
  • sleeping problems
  • back pain

This is not an exhaustive list of side effects. Further information regarding the safety of PrEP can be found in the patient information leaflet which comes enclosed with your medication.

You can view the patient information leaflet online here.

While prep is effective at preventing HIV, it does not protect you against other sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia or syphilis.

Always practise safe sex while taking PrEP by using condoms each and every time you have sex.

If you experience dizziness as a result of taking PrEP, avoid driving or using machinery until you feel safe to do so.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

If you are pregnant, suspect you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant, or breastfeeding, speak to your doctor before taking this medication.

PrEP is not a form of contraception and does not prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Women taking PrEP should use contraception to avoid pregnancy.

Other cautions

Always seek your doctor's advice before you buy PrEP online.

Do not use PrEP past the expiry date printed on the packaging.

Never throw away medicine via household or water waste. Take any unwanted or expired medicine to your pharmacy and ask them to dispose of it safely on your behalf.

Always store medicine out of the sight and reach from children and pets.

Frequently asked questions

What should I do if I forget to take PrEP?

If you forget to take PrEP, take it as soon as you remember.

If it is nearly time for your next dose, skip the dose you missed and take the next dose at the regular time.

Do not take more of the medication to make up for the dose you missed.

What should I do if I accidentally take too much PrEP?

If you accidentally take too much PrEP, speak to your doctor or your nearest emergency department for assistance.

Keep the bottle with you so that doctor's know what you've taken.

Can you drink alcohol while taking PrEP?

Drinking alcohol may increase your risk of side effects, such as nausea. It is recommended to avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol while taking PrEP.

Is PrEP safer than condoms?

While PrEP is effective at preventing HIV infections, it does not prevent other sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhoea, syphilis or chlamydia. Therefore, condoms should be used to reduce the risk of other sexually transmitted infections.

Moreover, PrEP is not a contraceptive and does not prevent pregnancy. You should use another form of birth control to prevent the risk of pregnancy while taking PrEP.

How long do I have to take PrEP for it to become effective?

Currently, it is unknown how long PrEP takes to work. There have been studies which have shown PrEP to reach it's peak efficacy in the blood at 20 days. Other studies have shown PrEP to be effective after 7 days of consecutive use.

Will PrEP cure HIV?

No, PrEP will not cure HIV. PrEP is only effective at preventing HIV in the first place.

If you are HIV-positive, speak to your doctor about treatment. You should not take PrEP if you are HIV positive.

Are HIV and AIDS the same?

No, HIV and AIDS are not the same.

HIV is the name of the transmittable virus.

AIDS is a collection of symptoms which occur when HIV is left to damage the body.

People with AIDS can still carry and pass on HIV, but AIDS is a non-communicable disease which cannot be passed on.

Is PrEP the same as PEP?

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is not the same as Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).

PrEP is used to prevent HIV before potential exposure to the virus, while PEP is used to prevent HIV within 72 hours after potential exposure to the virus.

PrEP and PEP are not interchangeable and should not be used in replacement of one another. For further information on how to use PrEP and PEP safely, speak to your doctor.

Neither PrEP nor PEP can protect you against other STIs or unwanted pregnancy. It is important to always wear a condom during sex to prevent the spread of STIs.

Will PrEP cure HIV?

No, PrEP is not a cure for HIV.

PrEP should not be used by people who are HIV positive as it may decrease the effectiveness of other HIV treatments.

If you believe you may have been recently exposed to HIV, speak to your doctor about PEP or go straight to your nearest accident and emergency department and ask about PEP.

It's important to understand that while PEP can be effective if taken 72 hours of exposure to HIV, it should not be used to prevent an infection in the first place.

Where can I buy PrEP online in the UK?

You can buy PrEP online from our UK registered pharmacy.

Simply complete our short online consultation for our doctor to review. If your order is approved before 3pm, our pharmacy will dispense and dispatch your item in discreet packaging the same day, aimed for a next-day delivery.

Table of contents

About PrEP

How does PrEP work?

Who can take PrEP?

How to take PrEP

PrEP side effects and cautions

Frequently asked questions

Additional resources

What is PrEP?

What are the symptoms of HIV?

How much does PrEP cost per month?

Treatment information

  • Product Name: PrEP
  • Active Ingredient(s): Tenofovir and Emtricitabine
  • Administration: Oral
  • Presentation: Tablets
  • Exemption: Prescription Only Medicine
  • Application: Men and women who are HIV negative and at an increased risk of exposure to the disease
  • Dosage: Take once daily
  • Description: PrEP minimises the risk of contracting HIV in at-risk persons
  • Drug Class: Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI)
  • Alcohol Consumption: No influence
  • When Pregnant: Speak to your doctor for advice if you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant before taking PrEP.
  • When Breastfeeding: Speak to your doctor for advice if you are breastfeeding before taking PrEP.
Click here to view the PrEP (Generic Truvada) - Patient Information Leaflet