Make sure you know how to use PrEP

PrEP contains 2 anti-HIV drugs called tenofovir and emtricitabine, when taken correctly PrEP works really well to prevent HIV and is safe to take.

If you’re taking or starting on PrEP, it’s really important to get the right advice and use the drugs as recommended. Before you start using PrEP, we strongly advise you to watch the below video and read the information on the i-Base website.

Recently we have seen a few patients in clinic who developed drug resistance because they didn’t get the proper checks before starting. We are here to help you stay safe, which includes getting started on PrEP. So do not hesitate to come into the clinic if you need help or want to get started on PrEP.

We have summarised the information from the video below:

  • Before starting on PrEP, you need an HIV, Hep B and kidney test. An HIV test ensures you don’t have HIV, because PrEP isn’t strong enough to treat an HIV infection on its own and using PrEP when you have HIV could create drug resistance.
  • We also test for hepatitis B because the drugs in PrEP are also Hep B drugs. You can still have daily PrEP if you have Hepatitis B, but it isn’t safe to keep starting and stopping the drugs
  • And we do a kidney test because in rare cases PrEP can affect your kidneys. It’s important to check how well they are working before and during the treatment. So that if there are problems it can be stopped so your kidneys recover.
  • People on regular treatment for a medical condition should check that there are no drug interactions with PrEP. You can do this at an appointment or you can check online
  • PrEP is safe but there are some known side effects. About 1 in 10 get mild stomach upset in first few days usually settles. As mentioned before in some cases the treatment may affect kidneys, that’s why it is important to check a kidney test before starting and regularly while on treatment.
  • PrEP doesn’t protect against other STIs, so continue to use condoms if you can or get checked regularly. Remember people starting or taking PrEP can walk into Dean Street Express for a check-up without an appointment.

When you are ready to start using PrEP, you can read some practical tips here.