Are you looking for help and support with taking PrEP? This page contains some tips and ideas to help if you’re struggling.
Are you on the right regime for you?
If you are having anal sex, consider whether daily PrEP or event-based PrEP is right for you at this time.
Daily PrEP is recommended if:
- You are having frequent sex
- Your sex is often unplanned or spontaneous
- You are a bit forgetful when it comes to taking medication
- You get unpleasant side effects through double dosing
- You have chronic Hepatitis B
Event-based PrEP is an option if:
- You are not having frequent sex
- You are able to tell in advance when you might have sex
- You are very good at remembering to take medication at the same time each day
- Your body is able to tolerate double dosing well
- You do not have chronic Hepatitis B
Sex lives change over time, so it’s worth considering the best way to remain protected from HIV each time you visit for more PrEP.
Many people may pivot between daily PrEP and event-based PrEP based on changes to their sex life, so it’s important to know how to do it safely.
We’ve noticed some people stop taking PrEP for periods of no sex e.g. lockdown. You should also make sure you know how to quickstart PrEP if needed.
If you have a break from PrEP and have risks during this time, it is important to have another HIV test.
Tips for taking daily PrEP
PrEPare your PrEP – use a pill box. Pill boxes are very cheap from a pharmacy, we also keep a small stock of pill boxes in clinic for free. Pill boxes make it very easy to see if you have taken or missed a dose.
Pick a regular time and try to keep to this each day.
Link it to part of your routine, such as taking vitamins or brushing your teeth, so that it becomes more like habit.
Set alarms or reminders on your phone. You can also use one of our recommended apps to help you.
Tips for taking event based PrEP
PrEPare your PrEP – use a pill box or PrEP keyring.
Count out 4 pills or more for a long weekend / holiday and store them in a pill box or special medication keyring.
We have a supply of PrEP keyrings in which you can store a quickstart dose of 2 PrEP pills – ask us at your next appointment for one of these. Keep them on you so you are ready to go whenever you feel like you might have sex. Remember to leave 2 hours for it to work.
Identify decisions that might lead to sex.
Some common situations that could be a trigger to take a double dose of PrEP:
– Friday PM in time for the weekend
– When you take a shower or get changed before going out
– Before you meet a friend to go out
– Before you start drinking
– When you start up one of the dating apps
– When you start messaging someone you’re interested in
– When someone who’s interested in you starts messaging
If you don’t end up having sex, you don’t need to take any more PrEP, and you can start with a double dose next time you need it.
Build the 2-hour wait into your sex.
While waiting for the PrEP timer to kick in, try building the time in to have non-penetrative sex, such as mutual masturbation, rimming or massage. Being upfront about the PrEP will help start a conversation about testing and prevention, which might also make you feel more comfortable about the situation.
Set alarms on your phone.
Ideally you don’t want to take your PrEP more than 2 hours either side of the original dose time (e.g. take between 7pm – 11pm if the previous dose was at 9pm).
Missed doses matter much more with event-based PrEP than they do with daily PrEP – if you take PrEP incorrectly, PEP may be recommended if there is a significant risk – use this tool to see whether you might need PEP.
Daily dosing may be better for more sex.
If you find yourself needing PEP instead, or notice more situations where you aren’t using event-based PrEP correctly, consider switching to daily PrEP as there is less likelihood of taking doses incorrectly.
PrEPTrack – free PrEP specific app
PrEPTrack lets you know when your 2 hours have passed and you are protected by PrEP. It automatically sets notifications for the following days when you program your initial dose.
Push notifications let you know before, at and after the time of dose.
You can see a timeline of your PrEP use and dose times.
Lots of information on the app around UK PrEP guidelines and what to do if something doesn’t go to plan.
iOS only at present. Please note that push notifications reference the name PrEP.
PrEPtime – free US-based PrEP app.
Push notifications mention the name PrEP. You can schedule in daily reminders – you will only get 1 push notification at the time of the dose. You can program in your remaining PrEP supply and opt to be reminded when you are running low.
You can also see a calendar of your PrEP use and days you took the dose.
Information and guidelines are US-based and may not have the correct information for UK PrEP users. Available for iOS and Android.
RoundHealth – free generic medication app.
PrEP is on here listed as Truvada. Medication reminders are generic e.g. “Time to take your medicine”. You can set a maximum 3 hour window around the dose time and you will get reminders before, at and after the time.
Good if you need many reminders and prefer a generic app. Available for iOS and Android.
Need more support?
If you’ve tried the tips above and you are still struggling with making PrEP work for you, you can refer yourself for support from one of the Health Advisers in clinic.
From June 2021, we will also be running a series of PrEP support workshops for PrEP users who would like to support each other with taking PrEP. Learn more about this here.
If you would like to be referred for PrEP support, you can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org (for PrEP support referrals only). Alternatively, you can ask to be referred to the Health Adviser team for support at your next visit.
Please include the following information in your email:
- Date of Birth
- Mobile number
- Have you been to 56 Dean Street before?
- Any additional info
One of the Health Adviser team will contact you within 2 weeks for further assessment.