The PrEP Clinic 2022 Logo

All About PrEP Medication

Get the key essentials you need to know about PrEP medication from our trusted clinical team.

What is PrEP?

PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis and is a prescription medication typically taken daily to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV.

How does it work?

PrEP is a combination of two drugs that fight against HIV known as “antiretrovirals”. They work by preventing HIV from being able to take hold in the body. The medications in PrEP are actually sometimes used as part of HIV treatment regimens as well (but can’t be used alone in treatment, only for prevention).

PrEP medication is typically taken as one tablet every day. However, if you are cis man or trans woman it may be prescribed On-Demand and taken just around the time of sexual activity. Individuals on daily PrEP will have maximum protection from vaginal or frontal sex at 21 days and anal sex at 7 days. The medication needs to be continued once daily as consistency determines the level of effectiveness.

Who should take PrEP?

Take control and consider PrEP if any of the following apply to you: 

Are there any side effects of PrEP medication?

PrEP is generally well tolerated and side effects can include stomach upset, headache, or feeling tired, although, these symptoms usually improve or go away with use. Over 90% of our patients do not report experiencing any side effects, and the medications in PrEP have now been studied and taken for 20 years.

Rare potential side effects include impact on your kidney function but your prescriber will monitor this during regular bloodwork. Any changes are generally reversible upon stopping the medication. The other possible side effect is changes in bone mineral density (bone strength) which is generally minor and reversible upon discontinuation.

It is very uncommon for patients to stop PrEP due to side effects in our experience.

Is PrEP right for me?

Health is very personal and we feel it’s important to provide information to help you make a well-informed decision about PrEP. If you will ever have a possible exposure to HIV it is something to consider – especially if not always 100% sure of a
sexual partner’s status.  

A person can have just one partner and acquire HIV, while someone else can have several partners and never acquire it. HIV impacts people of all ages and backgrounds – there isn’t one “type” of person who can benefit. This includes all gender identities and sexual orientations. 

Many patients with our clinic have found peace of mind taking PrEP and that it reduces anxiety around their sexual health.

Myths Just Not True!

Get the facts on some of the most common myths about PrEP.

NOT TRUE. Earlier studies that looked at PrEP use had found that PrEP did not significantly change sexual behavior. People who were already at risk just got protection. They also were tested more frequently due to regular monitoring being on PrEP, which allowed for better STI detection.

NOT TRUE. Condom use should still be considered as PrEP does not protect against other STIs besides HIV. PrEP plus condom use does further reduce the risk but is something for each person to determine what is right for themselves. We offer free condoms and lube to our clinic patients if interested. 

A person can have just one partner and acquire HIV, while someone else can have several partners and never acquire it. HIV impacts people of all ages and backgrounds – there isn’t one “type” of person who can benefit. This includes all gender identities and sexual orientations. 

Many patients with our clinic have found peace of mind taking PrEP and that it reduces anxiety around their sexual health.

NOT TRUE. The purpose of PrEP is simply to reduce HIV risk. If there was ever an HIV vaccine everyone would line up for it, even though it would not protect against other STIs either. 

Individuals on PrEP are taking initiative and control of their sexual health. There is no shame is accessing essential tools and resources to support HIV prevention. There are many individuals who could benefit from PrEP who are not currently on it.

NOT TRUE. Besides the fact we should not be disparaging people who have more sex, HIV does not discriminate whether someone has sex once or multiple times. Each sexual interaction is its own independent risk. Empowered individuals taking control of their sexual health go on PrEP.

For people who rarely “hook up” or have few partners, the On-Demand may be a potential option.

Learn about On-Demand PrEP

NOT TRUE. HIV can affect anyone and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities at risk can benefit from prevention tools. 1 in 4 new HIV infections are in women in Canada.

Learn about PrEP for Women

While we specialize in care for the community and are LGBTQ+ owned and operated – our service in inclusive to all. We have patients of all backgrounds accessing PrEP through us and don’t leave anyone behind.

Quick Facts

1 in 7 people living with HIV are unaware of their status.
1 in 15 people who've had rectal chlamydia or gonorrhoea acquire HIV within a year.
PrEP medication reduces the risk of acquiring HIV by 99%.

Thinking about getting on PrEP?

PrEP requires a prescription and our clinic team can prescribe and monitor your care on it. We offer online phone appointments across all of Ontario. If near our in-person clinics we also offer full-service care in Toronto, Brampton, and Ottawa. 

Don't forget the swabs!

Swab tests are essential while on PrEP. Learn about these important tests and how we include them in routine testing.

Tynomi Banks posing with swab.

Difference between Descovy and Truvada?

Learn about the different types  PrEP (Descovy and Truvada) and your options for how you take it.

We also offer Sexual Health Vaccines

We ensure our patients are offered free sexual health vaccines to help protect against HEP A, B, and HPV.

What is safe to combine with PrEP?

From over the counter products to supplements & recreational drugs, we’ve got the info here!