What is PrEP?
PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis and is a drug you can take to build up resistance in the body to the HIV virus. PrEP works by preventing HIV entering the body and replicating itself within your bloodcells. PrEP needs to be taken in the prescribed way to work properly and prevent you testing positive for HIV, once you have been exposed to the virus.
For further information on PrEP please click here:
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) | The Eddystone Trust
Who is PrEP for?
PrEP is for anyone who feels they may expose themselves to HIV. Many men who have sex with other men take PrEP, however, more recently there has been wider uptake amongst cis and trans women. PrEP is for anyone who feels the sex they have puts them at higher risk of HIV acquisition.
How do I take PrEP?
PrEP can be taken in several different ways depending on your gender identity, the kind of sex you are having and what your perceived exposure to HIV is. Many people prefer to take a daily dose as this helps them to get into a routine, it also allows for greater freedom around having unplanned sex without the added worry that you don't have enough PrEP in your body to protect you against HIV.
If you are trans and on hormone therapy, you are recommended to follow a daily dosing regime as research into the effectiveness of other dosing options is limited.
The effectiveness of the other options listed below is dependent on the kind of sex you are having (anal or vaginal).
On demand or event based dosing (suitable for anal sex only)
If you know you will be having sex 24 hours before and you want to use PrEP. You should:
- take 2 pills 2 – 24 hours before sex
- take 1 pill 24 hours later
- take 1 more pill 24 hours after that
If you are having sex for long than 24 hours, continue taking one tablet every 24 hours until you have 2 complete sex free days.
The T’s and the S’s – 4 pills a week (suitable for anal sex only)
Take Prep daily for seven days, then drop to 4 a week. Taking the tablets on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
Holiday PrEP (suitable for anal and vaginal/frontal sex)
This method is great if you are about to go through a period where you know you are likely to have more sex and believe your exposure to HIV may be higher…. Like a holiday!
Based on a 7-day period (or holiday) we recommend 7-7-7:
- 7 days daily dosing before the period
- 7 days daily dosing during the period (or for as long as the specific period lasts)
- 7 days daily dosing after the period.
Having a 7-day lead in ensures there is adequate PrEP in your body to protect against HIV.
All above info is taken from IwantPrEPnow.co.uk. We recommend having a full read of the different dosing options and talking to a member of Eddystone Trust staff or a sexual health clinician about any concerns or questions you may have.
Before you start to take PrEP you should take an HIV test to ensure you have a negative status. The HIV test you should take needs to be a ‘4th generation’ test. These are the tests commonly used by sexual health clinics.
If you are worried or anxious about testing, please do get in touch with us at The Eddystone Trust and we help you with any worries you may have.
As PrEP does not prevent acquiring other sti’s it is recommended that you use condoms for sex when taking PrEP.
How can I access PrEP?
PrEP is available to access via the NHS across England. Medication is accessed via your local sexual health service. To access PrEP via your sexual health clinic you will need to take part in a telephone assessment with a clinician to ensure that it is right for you. They will also need to book you in for a full sexual health screen, including HIV & Hep B, and a kidney function test.
You can also access PrEP privately via iwantprepnow.co.uk. This website lists reputable pharmaceutical companies who export PrEP into the UK. You can be assured that the drugs listed within this site have been tested for being PrEP. If you have any concerns or questions about buying PrEP from this site please get in touch with a member of Eddystone Staff.
If you have any questions about accessing PrEP or HIV testing then please contact The Eddystone Trust on 0800 328 3508 or email firstname.lastname@example.org