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Have questions about PrEP?


What is PrEP?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a daily oral antiretroviral medication used to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV infection.

What medications are available for PrEP?

Two drugs are licensed in the United States for use as PrEP and they are Truvada® (FDA-approved on July 16, 2012) and Descovy® (FDA-approved on October 3, 2019). Truvada® contains emtricitabine 200mg and tenofovir disoproxil 300mg. Descovy® contains emtricitabine 200mg and tenofovir alafenamide 25mg. 

Who can take Descovy® as PrEP?

Descovy® was FDA-approved for use as PrEP on October 3, 2019, in at-risk adults and adolescents weighing at least 35kg  (77 pounds) to reduce the risk of HIV infection from sex. Currently, Descovy® is not approved for use in individuals at risk of HIV infection from receptive vaginal sex because the effectiveness in this population has not been studied.

What are the similarities and differences between Truvada® and Descovy® as PrEP?

Both drugs are FDA-approved for use as PrEP. Similar to Truvada®, Descovy® must be taken once daily to reach 99% protection from HIV infection. Both drugs are fixed-dose combination tablets of two medications and both forms of PrEP contain emtricitabine 200mg. Truvada® also contains tenofovir disoproxil 300mg while Descovy® contains a different version of tenofovir called tenofovir alafenamide 25mg. While Truvada® may cause a small percentage of patients to experience slightly decreased bone density, no decreases in bone density have been observed in patients taking Descovy®.

How is PrEP taken?

PrEP is only approved in the U.S. as a once daily pill. Alternative/less frequent dosing schedules are being studied.