Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

PrEP (HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) is a medicine for HIV negative people, is taken before sex, so it is pre-exposure. Prophylaxis means to prevent infection – in this case HIV. It can reduce the risk of acquiring HIV when taken as instructed.

PrEP is made up of two drugs, Tenofovir and Emtricitabine. These drugs are known as antiretroviral medicines and have been used as part of HIV treatment for many years. You may know this medicine by its brand name, Truvada, however there are generic forms of the drug with the same active ingredients.

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PrEP is currently not free through NHS England (unless you are on the PrEP Impact trial where participants can get it for free for 3 years. We are currently recruiting at our 4 hubs, Stevenage, Hertford, Watford, St Albans. Places are limited. Contact us on 0300 008 5522 – or click here for move information.)

It can be purchased at a “small” cost of £19 per month from I Want PrEP Now £55 per month for the PrEP shop at 56 Dean Street Clinic.

PrEP Dosing

  • Maximum protection in the blood at 20 days of daily intake
  • Vaginal/Cervical tissue at about 3 weeks of daily intake
  • Rectal tissue at about 7 days of daily intake.
    • Daily (based on PROUD UK study)
  • 1 tablet once a day every day(only option for cis-women, trans-women and trans-men having vaginal/frontal sex)
    • Event-based (based on IPERGAY study)
  • Only suitable if you are the receiving partner in the anal sex (bottoming). Not recommended for vaginal sex or if you are the partner giving in the anal sex (topping) or you are versatile (both giving and receiving for anal sex).
  • Take a double dose of PrEP (2 tablets) before sex. Between 24 to 2 hours before (Tenofovir takes up to 24 hours to reach good levels in rectal tissue. FTC is absorbed into rectal tissue within 30 minutes).
  • Take another single dose (1 tablet) 24hrs after the first 2 tablets.
  • Take another single dose (1 tablet) 48hrs after the first double dose.
  • If any sex for an extended period of time (few days or a weekend), to continue to take a tablet every 24 hours until having 2 days without having sex.
  • This option is not recommended if there is an active hepatitis B infection.

Monitoring - Testing

If someone is interested on starting PrEP or on it already it is advised to do routine check-ups(full STI tests including HIV, Hepatitis B, liver and kidney function tests) before starting, one month after and then every 3 months or longer if on event-based dosing and not using it often.

These tests can be done for free at our LGBTQ* clinic, Clinic U.

More info on iBase - Click here to Visit.