PrEP stands for “pre-exposure prophylaxis”. PrEP is taken before sex; “pre-exposure”. “Prophylaxis” means to prevent infection; in this case HIV. So, PrEP is used by HIV negative people to prevent them from becoming HIV positive.
Research has been done into different types of PrEP, but the only type used at the moment is tablets. In men who have sex with men (MSM) and transwomen the only tablet that should be used as PrEP is a combination pill containing both tenofovir and emtricitabine. The brand name for this is “Truvada”, but there are other generic versions available. Common generic versions are called Tenvir-EM and Ricovir-EM
Tenofovir/emtricitabine is one of the most widely used medicines to treat HIV. It was approved for the treatment of HIV in 2004, and for use as PrEP in the United States in 2012.
Can you get PrEP at Chalmers or other NHS clinics in Scotland?
From 10th July 2017, PrEP is available to people at the highest risk of HIV infection in Scotland. If you are a Scottish resident and you meet the eligibility criteria for PrEP, you can be provided with the tablets and the monitoring and advice you need at the Chalmers Centre or Sexual Health at Howden.
All sexual health clinics in Scotland will be using the eligibility criteria for PrEP recommended by the expert Short Life Working Group on PrEP in 2016. See the report PrEP in Scotland for the current recommendations on who might be eligible for PrEP.
Get in touch with us if you want to speak to someone about PrEP
Anyone can find out more about PrEP at any of our clinics, including walk-in services. We will give you information and arrange a follow-up appointment at the Chalmers centre if required. For an appointment to discuss PrEP in more detail and to find out if you are eligible for NHS PrEP, phone the Chalmers Helpline on 0131 536 1070 and say you want to discuss PrEP.
For gay, bisexual and other MSM who want to access PrEP, phone the helpline above and ask for an appointment at the Gay Men’s Clinic. You can also use the walk-in service at this clinic (register from 4.30 on a Wednesday evening) or attend any of our other walk-in services.
Please be aware though – we can’t guarantee to see people attending for PrEP at walk-in services – people with symptoms or current sexual health problems will have priority.
2a Chalmers St
0131 536 1070 for appointments and advice.
The ROAM Team can give you advice on PrEP and arrange an appointment for you at the Chalmers centre. The ROAM team are not able to supply PrEP through m-test clinics.
2a Chalmers St
0131 5361773 or 07774628227
S-X, Sexual health for gay, bisexual and all men who have sex with men, offering advice and support around sex between men including information and advice about PrEP. The S-X team are not able to supply PrEP.
3 Mansfield Place
0131 652 3250
PrEP will be available from specialist sexual health services – there are currently no plans to make PrEP available through your GP or other clinics.
An i-base guide to Buying PrEP Online, although it does not cover NHS PrEP, is very useful and tells you about the monitoring tests you need and how to take PrEP. http://i-base.info/uk-guide-to-prep/
We are working with i-base to produce a new leaflet on NHS PrEP in Scotland, which will be available shortly.
Who would benefit from taking PrEP?
If you are HIV negative and don't always use condoms then PrEP could reduce your risk of HIV. The national criteria for NHS PrEP in Scotland are:
Individuals at greatest risk of acquiring HIV are eligible for NHS Scotland funded HIV prevention interventions including PrEP if ALL the following apply:
- Able to attend the clinic for regular 3 monthly review including for monitoring, sexual health careand support, and to collect prescriptions.
- Willing to stop NHS-funded PrEP if the eligibility criteria no longer apply.
Plus one or more of the following:
- Current sexual partners, irrespective of gender, of people who are HIV positive and with a detectable viral load
- MSM & transgender women with a documented bacterial rectal STI in the last 12 month
- MSM & transgender women reporting condomless penetrative anal sex with two or more partners in the last 12 months and likely to do so again in the next 3 months
- Individuals, irrespective of gender, at an equivalent high risk of HIV acquisition, as agreed with another specialist clinician.
(*The term MSM used here includes transgender men who have male sexual partners)
Is there anyone should not
take PrEP ?
PrEP should not be used:
- By people who are HIV positive.
PrEP is usually not necessary if:
- The negative person is only having sex with HIV positive partners who are on treatment with an undetectable viral load.
I’m not eligible for NHS PrEP, but I would like to take it for extra security - How can I get hold of PrEP?
Buying PrEP Online
Some people buy PrEP online at a cost of just under £50 for each month’s supply. If you get, or intend to get your PrEP online you can have your monitoring done at our clinics. We can also give you advice on PrEP and whether it is an option for you.
UK community websites have lots of information about PrEP and how to buy it online:
We cannot state that there is absolutely no risk if you choose to buy PrEP online because the PrEP is not sourced directly from the manufacturers. However, we can advise you how to do so as safely as possible.
Get in touch with us if you want to speak to someone about Buying PrEP Online.