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WHAT IS PREP AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a pill which prevents HIV infection. It’s a combination of the drugs tenofovir and emtricitabine which block HIV should it enter your body.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO BEFORE I ORDER OR START PREP?

It’s important to be properly informed about PrEP before you consider ordering it or starting it.

The amazing team at London’s 56 Dean Street have made this quick and simple video to make sure you know all the facts and get the correct checks and guidance in advance.

Wherever you are in the UK, you can always speak to THT’s helpline on 0808 802 1221They can help you access services local to you across the UK, whether provided by them or by someone else.

Where can I get my tests done?

It’s easier than you think! There are so many free clinics accessible across the UK. These can be searched by location by clicking on the NHS link below.

 

These listings include clinics and support facilities run not only by the NHS but by THT and other charitable trusts and institutions. Just type in your area and have a look.

 

As with all things medical, your visit will be strictly confidential. Staff are always friendly, helpful and incredibly well-trained. What’s more, these services are free and often don’t require an appointment.

Find HIV testing services – NHS

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HOW EFFECTIVE IS PREP?

PrEP is the most effective if it is taken once a day, with over 99% success rate of preventing infection when the daily dosing is adhered to. It has a lower success rate if it is not taken daily.

DO I NEED TO TAKE PREP?

PrEP is recommended if you are HIV negative and are sexually active with a number of different partners where condoms are not always used, you have anal and/or vaginal sex and you are unaware of the HIV status of your partners. You may wish to take PrEP if you are involved in high risk drug injection or if your partner is known to be HIV positive.

HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO TAKE PREP?

The most effective way of taking PrEP is once a day at the same time of day, with or without food. PrEP can also be taken ‘on demand’ but this is only really suitable for anal sex (not vaginal or frontal) and is not suitable for somebody with a hepatitis B infection. There is a specific way to take PrEP on demand and therefore careful planning is required.

We fully recommend taking PrEP every day.

HOW SOON IS PREP EFFECTIVE?

PrEP is most effective if it has been in the bloodstream for between and 4 and seven days in terms of anal sex, but it requires a longer period of up to three weeks in the bloodstream to reach adequate levels of protection in terms of vaginal sex.

IS PREP EFFECTIVE FOR HETEROSEXUAL MEN AND WOMEN AND TRANSGENDER INDIVIDUALS?

PrEP is most commonly used by gay men, but is also effective in preventing HIV in heterosexual individuals. Levels of PrEP in the vagina and cervix are most effective when taken as a daily dose and not as ‘on demand’ dosing. PrEP has not been found to interfere or interact with gender-affirming hormones and is therefore effective for transgender individuals.

WILL PREP PROTECT ME FROM DRUG-RESISTANT HIV?

Studies have shown that people who take PrEP correctly and do not contract HIV show no possibility of acquiring drug-resistant HIV. Drug resistance develops when a person who already has HIV takes an inadequate amount of anti-HIV drugs and their HIV develops mutations. Therefore, if somebody failed to take PrEP correctly, subsequently contracted HIV but continued to take PrEP, then their HIV could become drug-resistant, although the chance of this occurring is extremely rare.

DO I STILL NEED TO USE CONDOMS?

Condoms protect you against STIs. PrEP does not. Therefore if you wish to be fully protected from both HIV and STIs you may wish to use a combination of both PrEP and condoms.

WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS?

Like all medicines, PrEP can produce side effects. The most common short term side effects are nausea, headaches and diarrhoea and these should ease off within a week or so. Long term side effects are less common but include adverse effects on the liver, kidneys and bone density.

CAN I CARRY PREP ABROAD?

It is always best to check with your destination country for restrictions on certain medicines before you travel. To avoid confiscations at customs always carry your PrEP inside the original packaging with the patient information leaflet. Don’t forget to allow for time zone adjustments so that you continue to take your pill at the same time each day.

HOW MUCH PREP CAN I BUY AT A TIME?

TBC

MY MEDICINE HAS “FOR SALE IN INDIA ONLY” ON ITS LABEL. WHY IS THIS?

If your medicine was produced by an FDA-approved Indian pharmaceutical company, it was then resold to our Indian supplier for export. All of this is legal and in accordance with UK customs laws. Rest assured, the medicine you are taking is of the highest standard.

Links & Further Info

For further information about PrEP the following websites may be useful. Please note however that these links are provided solely for your convenience and in accordance with out terms and conditions we do not endorse any other website and are not responsible for their content.

 

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