When you first start PrEP, or if you’re restarting after a break, you should have an HIV test to make sure you are still HIV negative. Before you start PrEP, you should also test for hepatitis B and start a course of vaccination if you haven’t had it before. PrEP contains a treatment that is also used for hepatitis B, so it’s important to know whether you have hepatitis B before you start.
Come and speak to us when you are ready to start PrEP. We’ll ask you some questions about your medical history, check any medications you take and do the tests for HIV, hepatitis B and other sexually transmitted infections. We’ll also do a check of your kidney function too. We recommend a follow up plan based on your results.
HIV PROTECTION FOR ANAL SEX
‘Quickstarting’ PrEP is the fastest way to get protection for anal sex. Take 2 pills and you’ll be protected 2 hours later. Continue 1 pill around the same time each day to maintain protection. If you decide to stop, it’s important to continue the treatment for at least 2 days after your last condomless anal sex.
It is important that people with active Hepatitis B infection do not come on/off PrEP. That’s why it’s important to be tested before you start.
See our quickstart leaflet here.
HIV PROTECTION FOR VAGINAL/FRONTAL SEX
For HIV protection during vaginal/frontal sex take one pill around the same time each day. After 7 days you’ll be protected against HIV. Continue one tablet each day to maintain protection. If you decide to stop it’s important to continue the treatment for at least 7 days after your last condomless vaginal/frontal sex.
Stopping PrEP means that you are at risk of catching HIV. So think carefully before you stop. We recommend you keep a supply of PrEP handy so that you are always ready to restart.
Once you have taken PrEP continuously for 7 days you’ll still be protected if you miss the odd dose. For anal sex you need to take at least 4 doses per week. For vaginal/frontal it’s at least 6 doses per week.
If you find that you are regularly missing doses speak to a member of the team. You can also purchase a pillbox from most pharmacies – they make it easy to see if you have missed any. Setting an alarm on your phone may also help.
PrEP FOR TRANS AND NON-BINARY PEOPLE
PrEP is safe and effective for trans and non-binary people. It won’t affect hormone medication. 56T is our dedicated weekly service for trans and non-binary people, where you can talk about PrEP and get regular check-ups.