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Truvada is the branded version of PrEP – a HIV preventative drug.

People who are at high risk of contracting HIV are able to take Truvada and be protected against infection. It contains two antiretroviral drugs that stop HIV from taking hold of the cells and causing problems with the immune system.

PrEP has proven to be over 90% effective at preventing sexually-transmitted HIV, and around 70% effective at preventing HIV that would otherwise be transmitted through injecting drugs.

Truvada should only be taken by people who don’t have HIV, despite the fact that the same drugs are also used to treat those who are HIV positive. However, PrEP isn’t a substitute for post-exposure prophylaxis. Truvada only protects against HIV, and is even more effective when used with condoms.

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  • liver conditions
  • kidney conditions
  • immunodeficiency conditions (e.g. HIV) nervous system abnormalities
  • any serious medical condition which may require immediate hospitalisation
  • Thrush
  • unintentional weight loss
  • chest pain
  • blood in your urine
  • pain when urinating
  • blood in your stools
  • urinary tract infections (UTI)
  • night sweats
  • fever
  • liver conditions
  • kidney conditions
  • heart disease 'Long QT' interval (an electrical anomaly of the heart that can lead to heart rhythm disturbances sometimes caused by other medicines you might be on)
  • acute Porphyria (a rare hereditary blood disease)
  • any serious medical conditions which may require immediate hospitalisation
  • Aminoglycosides (for bacterial infection)
  • Amphotericin B (for fungal infection)
  • Foscarnet (for viral infection)
  • Ganciclovir (for viral infection)
  • Pentamidine (for infections)
  • Vancomycin (for bacterial infection)
  • Interleukin-2 (to treat cancer)
  • Cidofovir (for viral infection)
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, to relieve bone or muscle pains) 

Note: You must not be HIV positive for this treatment as it is a preventative medication. 


You are at risk if you have partner(s) known to have HIV-1, or you engage in sexual activity within a high prevalence area or social network and one or more of the following:

  • Inconsistent or no condom use,
  • Diagnosis of HIV-1
  • Exchange of sex for commodities (such as money, shelter, food, or drugs),
  • Sexualised drug use,
  • Alcohol dependence, 
  • Incarceration.

If you need to take a test please either visit your GP or sexual health clinic.

  • You’re HIV negative and have had condomless sex in the past 3 months and think you will again in the next three months, and you are: cis or transgender MSM or transgender woman.
  • You’re HIV negative and expect to have sex without condoms with an HIV positive partner/s with a detectable viral load.
  • You don’t meet the first two descriptions and you might be having heterosexual sex, but you’ve been clinically assessed as being at a similar high risk of becoming HIV positive.

This would usually be the case in patients suffering from problems with their kidneys. If you are unsure please visit your GP to carry out a blood test before ordering. 

  • You will read the Patient Information Leaflet supplied with your medication
  • You will contact us and inform your GP of your medication if you experience any side effects of treatment, if you start new medication, or if your medical conditions change during treatment
  • The treatment is solely for your own use
  • You are over the age of 18 and you have entered your own information for our identity verification checks
  • You have answered all the above questions accurately and truthfully
  • You understand our doctors take your answers in good faith and base their prescribing decisions accordingly, and that incorrect information can be hazardous to your health
  • You will inform your own GP of this purchase if appropriate
  • You are happy for your consultation to be reviewed by a European doctor company, and as such it is not subject to CQC Registration or inspection in England. (Please note all of our medicines are dispensed from a fully licensed and regulated UK Pharmacy).
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Dr. Diana Gall GMC No. 7685129

Dr Diana Gall studied medicine at the University of Transilvania graduating in 2005, since then she has finished a 3 year intensive training course in family medicine practice. In 2010 she reached the consultant level in general practice, working in Romania and in the UK. Her past experience relates to aesthetic field, occupational health and general practice.

Shamir Patel GPHC No. 2049338

Shamir is our Superintendent Pharmacist here at Doctor 4 U. Shamir is a well-respected pharmacist with extensive experience running independent high street pharmacies across the north west of England.

What is Truvada

Truvada is a branded version of the medicine PrEP, which stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. It’s used to prevent HIV in people that are classed as at “high risk” of contracting it. Truvada contains the ingredients tenovofir and emtricitabine which are also used to treat people that have already been diagnosed with HIV, but in different quantities. Truvada can’t treat HIV, only prevent it.

If a person at high risk of HIV takes Truvada daily, they are around 90% less likely to contract the infection. A “high risk” person is usually contrituted as a person that has multiple sexual partners and doesn’t always use barrier methods.

How does Truvada work?

To understand how truvada works in the body, we need to look at how HIV is contracted. HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus, and is a sexually transmitted infection. HIV can also be passed on through blood, hence why injecting drug users are also at risk of infection.

If a person contracts HIV, they usually notice flu-like symptoms around 2 weeks after infection, and these can last for several weeks. Over time, HIV weakens the immune system and makes it harder for affected people to fight off infections, and if the condition goes untreated for a long time, it may even turn into AIDS; something which can carry a death sentence.

In people that don’t use PrEP, HIV enters the cells in the body and starts to wreak havoc on the immune system. However, Truvada contains tenofovir and emtricitabine, both antiretroviral drugs which stop the infection from penetrating cells and taking hold. This means that someone with a HIV-negative status would likely remain clear even when having sex with someone of HIV-positive status.

Of course, we recommend barrier methods as an additional form of protection, especially if you know that your partner has HIV or AIDS, but Truvada can potentially save the lives of sexually active men and women who are unaware of their partners’ STI status.

How effective is Truvada? Can Truvada cure HIV?

Unfortunately, not. There’s currently no cure for HIV but Truvada can go a long way towards preventing the spread of the infection. If you’ve already been diagnosed with HIV, please speak to your doctor or visit your nearest sexual health clinic for advice on what you can do.

If you’re unsure whether you have HIV or not, you should get tested as soon as possible. You can do this at the following places:

  • GP surgeries
  • Sexual health clinics
  • GUM clinics
  • Charities such as the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT)
  • Private clinics
  • Online (by ordering a home testing kit)

If your result comes back positive, you’ll be able to take post-exposure prophylaxis which can lower the amount of the virus in your system, often to an undetectable level.

How do you take Truvada?

At the moment, the general advice is that Truvada should be taken once daily for maximum protection. For the first week or so, you might want to use barrier methods such as condoms whilst having sex until the drug has built up enough in your system to protect you from infection.

Trials are taking place to investigate whether Truvada can be taken “on-demand”, both before and after sex for several days.

Truvada comes in tablet form and should be swallowed whole with a glass of water.

How can I access Truvada in the UK?

The availability of Truvada and the generic version of PrEP (made to the exact same standards) vary depending on where you live.

In Scotland and Northern Ireland, you can access the medication for free on the NHS. You can visit any sexual health clinic and have a chat with a nurse who’ll be able to prescribe it to you if they think you’re at high risk of contracting HIV.

If you live in Wales, you can also get the drug from a sexual health clinic, as they’re currently doing an uncapped pilot. You won’t need to pay for the medication.

However, if you live in England, things get a little bit trickier. PrEP isn’t currently available through NHS England unless you’ve been accepted into the impact trial. Although places have been doubled, you must fit certain criteria to be accepted onto the program. Your only other option for accessing the vital medication is to buy it online. Unfortunately, this can be a risky business due to counterfeit and dangerous pills being sold to people, masquerading as PrEP. Doctor4U is proud to be a genuine supplier of PrEP, and we can guarantee safety and confidentiality. Whilst you do have to pay for a private prescription, it may be one of the only options unless the NHS introduces the medicine in the future.

What are the side effects of Truvada?

Most people don’t really experience any side effects when taking PrEP, but some that have been reported are as follows:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Depression
  • Joint pain
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Strange dreams
  • Back pain
  • Itching
  • Rash

If you’re concerned about any of the above side effects, or experience any of these symptoms whilst taking Truvada, please talk to your GP. It might help to think about whether the benefits of the medicine outweigh the risks and side effects before thinking about stopping treatment.

Does Truvada protect you straight away?

No. Clinical trials have shown that PrEP takes between 4-7 days to reach its full potential in your system, so it’s a good idea to use barrier methods until then to make sure you’re protected against HIV.

Is Truvada safe for me to take?

Even if you are considered to be at high risk of getting HIV, you may not be able to get Truvada prescribed under certain health-related circumstances.

For instance, you may not be able to use this medication if you have been diagnosed with a current issue with your kidneys, including a kidney disease, or you are currently on dialysis. You should consult your doctor first if you have such an issue. You should also speak to your doctor if you are intolerant to lactose, since this is contained in Truvada tablets. Also consult your doctor if you are aged over 65.

You also need to speak to your doctor about any other medications that you are currently using before you start taking Truvada tablets. Truvada should not be taken at the same time as other medicines which also contain emtricitabine or tenofovir.

Certain other medicines could also damage your kidneys if you are not careful. Inform your doctor if you wish to be prescribed Truvada and you are currently taking any of the following medication:

  • Aminoglycosides (for treating bacterial infections)
  • Amphotericin B (for treating fungal infections)
  • Cidofovir (for treating viral infections)
  • Foscarnet (for treating viral infections)
  • Ganciclovir (for treating viral infections)
  • Interleukin-2 (for treating cancer)
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Pentamidine (for treating infections)
  • Vancomycin (for treating bacterial infections)

How is my order shipped to me?

When an order is ready for shipping, it is collected and delivered by either the Royal Mail or DPD depending on your preference (or possibly your location or the item you ordered). Each order is assigned a tracking number, which will be emailed to you at the time of dispatch. Your medicine will be sent in plain and discreet packaging that’s eco-friendly. We do not include any branding on our packaging nor any labels which inform readers what type of product is contained within.

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Orders are collected and delivered by either the Royal Mail or DPD depending on your preference (or possibly your location or the item you ordered). Please see full postage and delivery charges here

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