What is PrEP?
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a medication that reduces your risk of contracting HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). When taken daily, PrEP medications can reduce the risk of infection through sex by 99%. It is important to note that PrEP does not protect against other STIs or pregnancy. Therefore, condom use is still recommended.
What is emtricitabine-tenofovir (Truvada)?
Emtricitabine-tenofovir is a combination of two medications, emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. Individuals at high risk of contracting HIV can take this medication for PrEP to reduce the risk of becoming infected.
How does emtricitabine-tenofovir (Truvada) work?
Emtricitabine-tenofovir works by blocking the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from making more copies of itself in the body.
Who should take emtricitabine-tenofovir (Truvada)
Individuals at risk of becoming infected with HIV should take emtricitabine-tenofovir. It can only be prescribed to HIV-negative adults weighing at least 77 pounds. The groups most at risk for contracting HIV include gay or bisexual men, transgender women who have sex with men and injection drug users.
Who should avoid taking emtricitabine-tenofovir (Truvada)
Emtricitabine-tenofovir should not be taken for PrEP by individuals who already have HIV. A negative HIV test is therefore required directly before starting PrEP. Emtricitabine-tenofovir should not be taken if you already take:
- Other medications that contain tenofovir or emtricitabine such as Atripla, Complera, Emtriva, Stribild, and Viread
- Medications that contain lamivudine such as Combivir, Epivir, Epivir-HBV, Epzicom, and Trizivir
- Adefovir (Hepsera)
PrEP vs PEP
PrEP is provided to reduce your risk of contracting HIV before you are exposed. PEP reduces your risk of becoming infected after exposure. PEP is taken for 28 days after exposure, while PrEP should be taken indefinitely. PEP is only intended for emergency use.
Emtricitabine-tenofovir vs Truvada
Emtricitabine-tenofovir is the generic version of Truvada. Both medications contain the same active ingredient but the generic version is less costly.