Let’s talk about accessing PrEP
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Let’s talk about accessing PrEP

Let’s talk about accessing PrEP

With recent research highlighting that HIV transmission in the UK is now most prevalent amongst heterosexuals, it’s now more important than ever for those at risk of HIV transmission consider starting using PrEP, regardless of gender or sexuality.

But… what is PrEP?

PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. PrEP is used to prevent HIV transmission. It’s often taken on an ongoing basis before and after sex, to help you stay HIV negative. It works by forming a protective wall around the cell to prevent HIV from crossing into healthy cells and replicating. This allows the body to protect itself from the HIV virus​. In the UK, PrEP is approved for use and is available from your local sexual health clinic. 

Before you start PrEP

Regardless of how you wish to access PrEP, you should speak to a sexual health professional who can guide you through the process and answer important FAQs such as how to take PrEP episodically or what to do if you miss a dose.

Before you start PrEP you should take the following tests, contact your GP or local sexual health clinic for further guidance on accessing testing, it is also available privately from Superdrug.

  • HIV: Fourth-generation blood test
  • Kidney function: test for protein in urine
  • Kidney function: test for creatinine and eGFR in blood
  • Hepatitis B and C: blood tests
  • Sexually transmitted infections

If you’ve recently have had unprotected sex, you can start PrEP but should undergo the testing process 4 weeks after starting to ensure that you have a clean bill of sexual health. Similarly, if you’ve had unprotected sex and are experiencing flu symptoms,  it’s important that you get a HIV test before starting PrEP to rule out any potential transmission.

So how do I access PrEP?

Sexual Health Clinics

PrEP is available at nearly all sexual health clinics in England,  free of charge on the NHS. Anybody can access it, regardless of migration status or lack of fixed address. All you have to provide is a postcode. Sexual health services are confidential and as such, your information cannot be passed on legally.

Click here to find your local service

Online

You can also buy PrEP online from online pharmacies overseas legally. They will offer generic versions of PrEP, but it’s vital that you check the ingredients to ensure they have tenofovir and emtricitabine combined. If you decide to buy PrEP online you will have to pay between £20-£50 for a month’s supply. 

For more information on buying PrEP online visit www.iwantprepnow.co.uk and www.prep.global.

Private prescriptions

PrEP is also available via private prescription from retailers such as Superdrug. The process involves filling out a medical questionnaire which will be reviewed by a doctor before you’re allowed to process. Purchasing PrEP via this route usually costs between £59-£159.

What to do after you’ve started PrEP?

After starting PrEP it’s important to ensure you’re undergoing the following tests:

Every 3-4 months: 

  • HIV: fourth-generation blood test
  • Kidney function: test for protein in urine
  • Sexually transmitted infections.

Yearly

  • Kidney function: test for creatinine and eGFR in blood.

These continuation tests are also available privately from Superdrug.

If you’re interested in PrEP contact your local sexual health service listed below or alternatively click here to see where you can access PrEP in person. 

Lambeth

Streatham Hill Centre

020 7188 7707

Camberwell Sexual Health Centre

020 3299 5000

Southwark

Burrell Street Clinic

020 7188 6666

Walworth Road Clinic

 020 7188 7707

Lewisham

The Waldron Health Centre

020 3049 3500

Trafalgar Clinic

020 8836 6969

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