PrEP Medication (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis)

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a type of treatment used to protect a HIV negative person / partner against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), that a HIV positive partner carries. When taken every day, these preventative medicines can protect HIV-negative individuals from the disease, when they would otherwise be at high risk of contracting it.

Order our PrEP treatments, such as Emtricitabine/Tenofovir (generic Truvada) before having unprotected condomless sex, to effectively safeguard against HIV infection.

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Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) means that it protects against an infection before coming into contact with it. This type of medication is used to prevent HIV acquisition in people who are considered high risk but are currently HIV-negative, protecting their sexual health . It is different from PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis), which is taken after possible exposure to the virus. A helpful comparison would be the difference between the contraceptive pill and the morning after pill; both are preventative measures but one is taken before the act and the other is taken afterwards, in the same way as how Pre exposure prophylaxis and Post exposure prophylaxis work.

Video Guide: What is PrEP (Pre Exposure Prophylaxis) HIV?

Take a look at UK Meds handy video guide below which explains what PrEP HIV is.

PrEP has proven to be a successful sexual health treatment for HIV, with prevention rates up to 92% when taken correctly. The reason that this is so important is because HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) can be a cruel disease, that attacks the cells of your immune system. Over time, this damage can become more severe and leaves your body weak to serious infections and cancers. If the HIV infection becomes so severe that your immune system is extremely damaged, then this would signal that the infection has moved into its most grievous phase; AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

Once the HIV virus is in your body, it attaches itself to your cells, multiplies and then destroys them. PrEP medications contain the same active ingredients as HIV-positive medications, which work as a barrier between the HIV infection and your body’s cells. So should you come into contact with the virus, the drug kills it before it can latch on, preventing HIV transmission and protecting your sexual health.

The generic PrEP HIV drug Emtricitabine Tenofovir (Truvada) typically takes 7-20 days to become effective, but after that, it should successfully protect you from an HIV infection. If you are concerned you may be infected with HIV, book a PrEP appointment and speak to a healthcare advisor or a sexual health clinic as soon as possible.

PrEP HIV medicine should be taken every day for long-term protection against HIV, but can also just be used before and after sex for HIV prevention. HIV drugs are only advised for those who are currently HIV-negative, but who are considered at high risk of contracting it.

According to PrEP Daily, if you are at a high risk of HIV transmission, PrEP may be the best HIV prevention method for you but you should also use it with condoms too, until you have been consistently taking PrEP for several days. It's a good practice to continue using a condom even after taking PrEP to ensure better protection.

Always follow your doctor or health care provider's instructions for taking these tablets. Generally, you will be instructed to take one tablet every day with food, when possible - daily PrEP is the typical dosage. The specific doses for different purposes are as follows:

Who Is Taking the PrEP HIV Medication?

Typical PrEP HIV Dosage

Treating HIV in adults: 1 tablet every day
Treating HIV in adolescents aged 12-18 who weigh more than 5.5 stone (35kg):1 tablet every day
Reducing the risk of HIV in adults:1 tablet every day
Reducing the risk of HIV in adolescents aged 12-18 who weigh more than 5.5 stone (35kg):1 tablet every day

Frequently Asked Questions About HIV

To determine if you have HIV, NHS England state that you need to have an HIV test, as the symptoms may be absent for many years.

It is recommended to get tested if you suspect you are at risk. In the UK, the NHS provides free HIV testing, and results are often available on the same day. Additionally, home testing and home sampling kits are also available. Certain individuals at higher risk for HIV may be instructed to have regular testing, particularly if they have sexual relationships with a HIV negative person.

Once you contract the HIV infection (and become HIV-positive), you will live with the sexually transmitted infection forever, as the human body can never get rid of the virus completely (even with treatment). However, you may not show symptoms for an extended period of time, the disease is manageable and some people live their whole life without HIV ever becoming AIDS.

Unlike some viruses (like cold and flu), HIV is not airborne and cannot be passed from one person to another through close proximity, casual contact (hugging, shaking hands, kissing), or sharing toilets, dishes or glasses. It also cannot be passed through bodily fluids like saliva, sweat, urine, or tears, or by mosquitos (or other blood-sucking insects).

The HIV virus exists exclusively in a person’s blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. So it can only be transmitted by unprotected sex (especially anal, but also vaginal), by sharing needles, syringes and other drug equipment, and occasionally from mother to child during pregnancy. Even if the infected person’s HIV has progressed to the AIDS stage, it still can only ever be passed on as HIV. AIDS cannot be passed on; it develops in the body over time.

Do I need HIV PrEP?

According to NHS Scotland: If your partner has been diagnosed with HIV, has been taking HIV medication for at least 6 months, and their viral load is undetectable, there is no risk of HIV transmission through sex. An undetectable viral load means that the level of HIV in their body is too low to be measured by a blood test and will not be transmitted through sex. In this case, you do not need PrEP.

Because of the way the virus infects the body, those who engage in anal sex are one of the highest risk, especially those who receive it. So men who have sex with men (especially those who have multiple partners without using protection) are at high risk, particularly the man who is receptive (known as “bottoming”) rather than insertive (known as “topping”).

You are also considered at increased risk if you have sex in an area of the world where HIV is rife (such as sub-Saharan Africa), or if you have sex with someone who does or did live there. As an extension of this, black Africans are more prone to the disease, regardless of sexual orientation.

Sex workers are also at higher risk (because of the number of sexual partners), as are women who have sex with men, who’ve had sex with men. “Chemsex” is another activity that increases risk of HIV (having sex using certain drugs), as is recreational drugs use in general (especially sharing needles).


Before starting PrEP, you will need tests to ensure you are HIV-negative, after which you can begin treatment straight away. A doctor may also advise a kidney function test to ensure that you have suitable kidney function for PrEP drugs to be an effective treatment for preventing HIV transmission.

Do I need to test negative for hepatitis B before starting PrEP HIV treatment?

Yes. If you haven't had a hepatitis B vaccination, you must ensure that you test negative for hepatitis B before starting HIV PrEP treatment.


Buy PrEP Medication

You can purchase PrEP medication for HIV, such as Truvada (Emtricitabine/Tenofovir) online at UK Meds, after a successful online consultation with a pharmacist independent prescriber, following which your order will be supplied, it couldn't be any simpler buying PrEP online! The online consultation will ensure that PrEP HIV is a suitable medication for your requirements.

No. At the time of writing, free PrEP is currently only available from sexual health clinics, not from community pharmacies or your GP, according to I Want PrEP Now.

Google Web Story: A-Z Guide to PrEP HIV

UK Meds Google Web Story below provides an A-Z of key HIV PrEP related terms so that you know everything that you'd need to about the HIV treatment!


Content author

Scott Weaver

Medical Content Writer • Bachelor of Arts Degree

Scott is an experienced, skilled content writer dedicated to creating helpful and accessible medical content for UK Meds.

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