PrEP is a pill that you can take if you’re HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) negative and think there’s a high chance you’ll be exposed to the virus. It will lower your chance of getting HIV.
Last reviewed: 08/10/2020 by Dr Babak Ashrafi
|Emtricitabine/Tenofovir disoproxil (1 Month)||30 tablets||£59.00|
|Emtricitabine/Tenofovir disoproxil (2 Months)||60 tablets||£109.00|
|Emtricitabine/Tenofovir disoproxil (3 Months)||90 tablets||£159.00|
|Introduction & Annual PrEP Test||Test Kit||£99.99|
|Continuation PrEP Test||Test Kit||£39.99|
Dispensing and standard delivery included.
Next Day Delivery: £3.99
To order PrEP from Superdrug Online Doctor, you must be at a higher risk of catching HIV and be 18 or over.
You'll also need to have a negative result from HIV and hepatitis B and C tests, and have tested normal for kidney function.
You are at higher risk of getting HIV if you do not use condoms during sex and you are:
a man who has sex with men
a transgender person who has sex with men
a woman who has sex with bisexual people
a sex worker
having sex with someone from a country with a high rate of infection
having sex with someone who is HIV positive and has a detectable viral load (they have a high amount of the virus in their blood)
having sex with someone whose HIV status is not clear
injecting drugs using needles, syringes and other equipment, and sharing those with others
Before you can get PrEP you will need to make sure you're HIV negative, have normal kidney function and are hepatitis B and C negative. You can order PrEP tests online from Superdrug Online Doctor, take a sample at home and send it to our partner laboratory for results.
We offer 2 types of PrEP tests, an introduction & annual PrEP test, which you will need to take if you haven’t taken PrEP before or have been taking PrEP for a year, and a continuation PrEP test, which you can take if you’re already taking PrEP:
Introduction & Annual PrEP test. This is a test for HIV, kidney function (creatinine and estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate; eGFR) and hepatitis B and C.
Continuation PrEP test. This checks for HIV and kidney function (creatinine and estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate; eGFR). This is for people who know their hepatitis status or have been vaccinated against hepatitis B and are at low risk of getting hepatitis C.
If you are not already taking PrEP, you will need to take the introduction & annual PrEP test to start taking it. You will also need to repeat the introduction & annual PrEP test once a year to make sure it’s suitable for you to take PrEP.
If you test positive for hepatitis we’ll let you know that you need to make an appointment with your GP to refer you to a liver specialist.
If your test shows abnormal kidney function you’ll be asked to do a repeat test to see if it normalises. At this stage, we’ll recommend that you see your GP for this test as they want to examine you and do further testing, but you can test again with us.
If you require any further testing due to your results, you will not be able to take PrEP until you have clear confirmation that it’s suitable for you.
You need to know your HIV status before taking PrEP to make sure it's safe for you to take the drug. This is because PrEP contains 2 types of antiviral drugs which are used in combination with other medications to treat patients who are HIV positive.
Using the drugs on their own when you're HIV positive can mean you become resistant to them, which would make treating the infection in the future more difficult.
PrEP is highly effective in preventing HIV. Studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV through sex by about 99% when taken daily.
PrEP is much less effective when it is not taken daily unless it’s taken as part of a different regime that has been validated such as the ‘on demand’ method.
There are a few ways to take PrEP which will depend on your current lifestyle and how often you are exposed to people who may have HIV. We only recommend daily PrEP dosing, although there are other methods. This is because we can easily monitor how PrEP is affecting and provide advice remotely to make sure you’re getting the best treatment possible.
Daily PrEP is best taken at the same time every day and is suitable for both anal and vaginal or frontal sex. You will be protected after:
4 days for anal sex
7 days for vaginal sex
You should take PrEP with food, at any time of the day, but at the same time every day.
You may experience side effects when taking PrEP, but they should improve after a few weeks. If the side effects last longer or become difficult to deal with, you should talk to your doctor before deciding to stop PrEP.
Some common side effects are:
feeling sick and vomiting
Before we can prescribe you PrEP, we'll ask you about any medicines you're currently taking or have recently stopped taking. This is because taking PrEP at the same time as certain medicines may reduce the protection PrEP provides from HIV.
Some medicines that may reduce PrEP protection are:
drugs for treating fungal or viral infections
medications for treating hepatitis C
PrEP is currently available on the NHS in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and a PrEP programme has been agreed for England which will be available on the NHS. You may need to contact your local sexual health clinic to find out exactly how you might be able to get PrEP on the NHS.
It’s possible to get PrEP on the NHS if you’re 16 or 17 years old but you’ll need to apply to find out if you're eligible. You must be 18 years old or over to use our service.
PrEP works by blocking an enzyme which prevents an HIV infection from making more copies of itself in the body.
Prophylaxis is a type of medicine you can take, such as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), to prevent you from getting a disease.
The 2 forms of PrEP available in the UK:
the branded form Truvada
the more common form, known as ‘generic PrEP’
Both contain the same 2 active ingredients, tenofovir disoproxil and emtricitabine.
PrEP is not a cure for HIV, but it can help lower your risk of getting HIV if you take it as prescribed by your doctor. We also advise that you still use condoms, as PrEP is only 99% effective.
There is currently no cure for HIV but it can be managed with a group of specialised antiviral drugs, which can help most people with the virus live a long and healthy life.
You cannot use PrEP as PEP. PEP stands for ‘post exposure prophylaxis’, and this is not the same as PrEP.
PEP is a medicine you take after having sex if you think you have been exposed to HIV. It is usually prescribed for a month, and should be taken immediately after you think you have been exposed to protect you from the virus.
If you’re taking PrEP you need to make sure you’re staying healthy and should still be taking the drug. You’ll need:
a 3 month check. Every 3 months we'll need to know that you've tested negative for HIV and that you have good kidney function
an annual check. Every year we'll need to know that you've tested negative for HIV and hepatitis B and C, and that you have good kidney function
We advise you to do regular STI tests or screenings.
Here are some resources that you may find useful depending on your circumstances:
If you’re transgender, you can get more information and support from Mermaids
The NHS has information about psychological therapies
The Gay men’s health project offers information about HIV prevention and the stigma of HIV
To continue taking PrEP safely, you need to keep your ‘negative on PrEP’ status. This means you should get tested every 3 months for HIV to make sure you’re still HIV negative.
HIV Drug Interactions (2019) University of Liverpool [accessed 21 May 2020]
How to take PrEP (2020) Terrence Higgins Trust [accessed 21 May 2020]
PrEP (Pre Exposure Prophylaxis) (2017) Terrence Higgins Trust [accessed 21 May 2020]
Prevention: HIV and AIDS (2018) NHS [accessed 21 May 2020]
Study Results: PROUD MRC Clinical trials UCL (2015) [accessed 21 May 2020]