When you see your doctor or sexual health nurse practitioner to get your script, they will do a few tests to get you started. This will include tests for:
- HIV (to confirm you are HIV negative)
- STIs (gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis)
- Kidney function
The doctor will also talk to you about bone health and might suggest a bone scan if they feel that you are at risk of low bone density, but this is generally relevant only for people with specific risk factors.
A very small number of people may experience significant changes to their kidney function and problems with their bone density if their bones are not already strong before starting PrEP. These side-effects usually occur in people with pre-existing or other medical conditions, but your doctor will check these just to be sure.
Your doctor will do these tests regularly when you go back to get your next scripts. If you are a man (cis or trans), non-binary inclusive, who has sex with men and taking PrEP, you should get tested for STIs every 3 months. These regular STIs tests just become part of each visit to get your next PrEP scripts (usually every 3 months).
You will be given one script (30 pills) with two repeats. This will give you 3 months’ worth of PrEP (90 pills) when taken daily.
The only products that can be used for PrEP are a combination of tenofovir and emtricitabine.
Remember, you may have to pay for your doctor’s visit if they don’t offer bulk billing.