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. A common generic version is called Tenvir-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 Centre and other NHS Clinics in Scotland?
On 10th April 2017, the Scottish Medicines Consortium approved Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/Emtricitabine (known as TDF/FTC and commercially as Truvada™) for use as a HIV prevention drug in combination with safer sex practices across NHS Scotland. We welcome this announcement and look forward to making PrEP available to those at high risk of HIV infection in Lothian.
Health Boards in Scotland have 90 days (in this case from 10th April),
in which to respond to an SMC decision, so to ensure that there is a consistent, coordinated approach across Scotland. NHS Lothian wil be part of a HIV PrEP Implementation and Monitoring Group chaired by Health Protection Scotland. We will work to make PrEP available to those at highest risk of HIV across Scotland as quickly and fairly as possible.
PrEP will be available from specialist sexual health services – there are currently no plans to make PrEP available through your GP or other clinics.
PrEP will be available to those people at the highest risk of acquiring (catching) HIV. See the report PrEP in Scotland for the current recommendations on who might be eligible for PrEP.
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.
Certain other factors indicate that you are at a higher risk of HIV.
- A recent STI (especially rectal infection or syphilis).
- Use of PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis).
- Using some recreational drugs (crystal meth, mephedrone or G) - also known as ChemSex.
Any of these mean you are likely to benefit even more from taking PrEP.
You can discuss these things with doctor or nurse at Chalmers Centre or our other specilaist services if you are not sure – see the contact details below.
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.
How can I get hold of PrEP?
NHS: The Scottish Medicines Consortium accepted HIV PrEP for use, in Scotland, on 10th April 2017. See the update at the top of the page. More information on when the medication will be available to patients will be coming in the next 3 months..
Clinical trial of PrEP
The DISCOVER study is a clinical trial of PrEP to test whether a combination of emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide (F/TAF) is as safe and effective as Truvada® (emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, F/TDF) at reducing the risk of HIV infection when used as PrEP. F/TAF was recently approved for HIV treatment, but it is not yet known whether it is effective as PrEP. Please click here
for more infomation on this.
Buying PrEP Online
Some people buy PrEP online at a cost of around £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.
Get in touch with us if you want to speak to someone about PrEP:
Ask for an appointment at the Gay Men’s Clinic, Chalmers or attend
any of our walk-in or m-test services, or contact the ROAM Team direct
2a Chalmers St
0131 536 1070 for appointments and advice.
2a Chalmers St
0131 5361773 or 07774628227