Truvada is a daily medication prescribed to prevent HIV, it is:
- 99% effective at reducing HIV risk
- Free for over 90% of Canadians
What is Truvada for PrEP?
Truvada for PrEP is a daily pill prescribed to adults and adolescents at risk of contracting HIV. If taken correctly, Truvada lessens the chance of contracting HIV during sex by more than 99%.
What are the side effects of Truvada?
Less than 10% of people experience side effects with Truvada for PrEP including:
- nausea, headaches, diarrhea, and vomiting.
For those that do, symptoms only last a short while while their body gets used to the drug, and then they subside. In a small number of people, PrEP has resulted in a decrease in kidney, liver, and bone health. Descovy, another PrEP medication (99% effective as well) is an option for patients with pre-existing kidney, liver, or bone health issues.
If you’re experiencing persistent symptoms after a couple of weeks, contact your healthcare provider.
Daily PrEP Dosing
- Take one pill by mouth at the same time each day. Can be taken with or without food
- If you miss a dose, take the tablet as soon as you remember. If it is less than 12 hours till your next dose, wait until next dose. Do not double dose.
- Taking PrEP as prescribed gives 99% protection, this decreases if not taken as directed.
- Time to protection: 21 days to achieve protective levels in vaginal tissue/for front sex. This means you need to take PrEP daily for three weeks before it will fully protect you against HIV. In this waiting period, you can use condoms.
- PrEP does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) other than HIV and has no contraceptive effect. You can use condoms alongside PrEP to prevent STIs and pregnancy.
- We recommend adequate calcium and vitamin D intake while on PrEP. Health Canada recommends 1000 mg/day dietary intake of calcium per day and 600 IU vitamin D per day in most adults. Regular exercise is encouraged for maintenance of bone health.
- We suggest using NSAIDs (e.g. Ibuprofen or Alieve, Tylenol is not an NSAID) sparingly while on Truvada
- If you plan on stopping PrEP, please indicate this in your portal for instructions and safety information.