While The NHS Drags Its Heels On PrEp, This Is How Men Are Being Affected

PrEp is a pill designed to be taken before sex – either as a low daily dose or higher targeted dose up to two hours before sex, then a further tablet after sex. It works by blocking HIV if you’re exposed to it, before it has the chance to infect you. 

The main brand of PrEP used is called Truvada, which contains Tenofovir and Emtricitabine, (drugs commonly used to treat HIV), but there are also other versions of PrEp supplied through online pharmacies. 

[Read More: 6 Things You Need To Know About PrEP]

Mark, 36, from Manchester, describes being turned away from clinics participating in the trial in Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham as frustrating. 

“I felt really disheartened and, I suppose, like it had made a mockery of the people who had done all that campaigning for the trial to happen,” he says. 

Ryan, 26, from Hertfordshire, was also surprised how quickly places filled. He says he and his partner both tried to call separately as soon as PrEp became available in their area, with no luck. The pair are in an open relationship, so Ryan says they wanted to take part in the trial to “keep ourselves and each other safe”, but being unable to do so has been stressful, especially for his partner. 

“As he suffers from anxiety, especially in regards to his health, catching HIV is a particular worry of his,” Ryan explains. “We use the standard precautions of course, but PrEP would definitely make our sex lives much easier and stress-free.”

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