PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a pill that protects someone who is HIV negative but at increased risk from HIV from sex. It is a course of tablets that are taken before and after sex. PrEP is a well-studied, evidence-based method of avoiding HIV transmission from one person to another through sex. When taking PrEP, you do not need to know the HIV status of your sexual partner.

The vast majority of PrEP users take one tablet each day however there may be some circumstances where a PrEP user would take this in other ways such as an ‘event-based’ (sometime knows as ‘on demand’) regimen; PrEP regimens can be discussed with a sexual health service clinician.

“Pre” – is something taken before a risk of exposure

“Prophylaxis” – is a treatment or intervention that can be taken to prevent infection / disease.

Currently, in the UK, we have one pill approved for use as PrEP – the brand of this pill is called Truvada however a PrEP user may be supplied a generic equivalent however it is important to be reassured that the active medication remains the same in both Truvada and its generic equivalent.

Truvada and the generics contain two drugs:

  • Tenofovir Disoproxil
  • Emtricitabine

Anyone accessing PrEP needs to know that this will only protect against HIV infection and other precautions are needed to reduce the risk of contracting other sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and hepatitis C virus.

Correct, consistent condom use is also encouraged.

When someone is taking PrEP it is important that they continue to access sexual healthcare on a regular basis, this is usually every 3 months and the aim of these  appointments is to ensure that the PrEP medication continues to be safe for the person to take, to undertake a STI screen and to have a further HIV test.

PrEP is available free from your local sexual health services; you will not be able to access PrEP from your GP or community pharmacy at present.

Your local Sexual Health services are available at; 

North Tyneside:  One to One Centre

                             Brenkley Avenue

                             Shiremoor

                             NE29 8NH

                             0191 297 0441

Northumberland: One to One Centre

                             Blyth Health Centre

                             Thoroton Street

                             Blyth

                             NE24 1DX

                             01670 515 151

Further details with regards to your local sexual health services, including opening times and outreach clinics are available at: https://www.northumbria.nhs.uk/our-services/sexual-health-services/