Truvada is an oral preventive measure for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) which can be obtained with a prescription. It comprises of Emtricitabine and tenofovir, two antiviral drugs that work by preventing HIV cells from multiplying in the body.For maximum safety, you can use just one pill DAILY of Truvada in combination with safer sex practices and use of condoms.
- New approach for HIV prevention
- Approved for use as PrEP
- Consume one pill every day
- Can be purchased ONLY on a Private Prescription
- Requires follow-up every 3 months from a health care provider
- Use with condoms and other prevention methods for greater protection
This medicine is even approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for PrEP which should only be used to prevent HIV and not as a cure for HIV or AIDS. So, you must be HIV-negative and an adult or a child who is least 12 years old with at least 35 kilograms of body weight to use Truvada. Once you fit in the above category, ask your doctor about your risk of getting HIV-1 infection and whether TRUVADA for PrEP is right for you.
What is Truvada?
Those who still believe condoms as the most effective option to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections might be unaware about Truvada. ‘Prevention is better than cure’ is largely used with context to HIV as there its cure is still not found. This is why even after incorporating various safe sex practices while having sexually intimate, we look for new ways to maximize the protection. PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a new HIV prevention method that is up to 99% effective when taken consistently and TRUVADA is a prescription medicine for PrEP.
This is a once-a-day medication that is used to help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-1 related illnesses. It means any sexually active HIV-negative person, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity can use the drug for a much safer intercourse.
Remember, Truvada can be used as a PREVENTIVE MEASURE and NOT A CURE for HIV.
As a HIV treatment, Truvada must be used in combination with other HIV drugs but check that they don’t contain the same active ingredients. It has also been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for PrEP.
What is pre exposure prophylaxis?
To better understand how Truvada works, one needs to first understand what does PrEP mean and why is it important. PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis where the word "prophylaxis" means “to prevent or control the spread of an infection or disease”. It is a new way to prevent HIV which involves use of anti-HIV medication. So, all those who don’t have HIV but are at very high risk of getting it can use PrEP to help prevent HIV infection. Studies have even seen these medicines can work to keep the virus from taking hold in your body when exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use. PrEP can be safely used along with condoms and other prevention methods to provide even greater protection than used alone. But people who use PrEP just need to follow two simple guidelines, taking the dose of the medication every day and seeing your health care provider for follow-up every 3 months.
The only oral PrEP medication which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent HIV infection is Truvada. This medication helps everyone including a HIV-Vulnerable person to enjoy the most intimate moments of life with maximum control over the HIV.
"Several studies suggest that PrEP can be effective for both men and women at risk for HIV infection"
One Pill, Once a Day.
PrEP is a new preventive approach where a HIV-negative person can take a pill daily to reduce the risk of becoming infected.
PrEP Is for HIV-Vulnerable People.
PrEP can only be obtained on prescription by a health care provider and must be taken as directed.
You’re in Control.
PrEP users should use the drug every day and also follow-up with a health care provider every 3 months.
Daily PrEP can reduce the risk of sexually acquired HIV by more than 90%.
How does Truvada help to prevent HIV-1 infection?
HIV infects important cells for fighting infection called CD4 cells, or T cells. Once HIV enters the body, the virus multiplies inside these cells which get released into the blood and infect other CD4 cells. Truvada uses the power of two HIV medications, emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (tenofovir and emtricitabine) that works by blocking the path HIV infection uses to enter a human body.By ensuring the presence of these medicines in your bloodstream with Truvada daily, you can make it harder for HIV-1 to multiply as well as infect your body. This is why your health care provider might always insist you for having a PrEP drug once daily.
Who can use Truvada?
PrEP medicine is mainly for those people who are HIV-negative and at very high risk for HIV infection. That means anyone who is in an ongoing relationship with an HIV-positive partner may need Truvada to reduce the risk of being infected by the virus. It is also recommended for people who have been injected for any drug in the past 6 months and have shared needles or works or been in drug treatment in the past 6 months.
Apart from this, using PrEP is advisable for even those who:
- Are not in a mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who recently tested HIV-negative,
- Are gay or bisexual men who has had anal sex without a condom or been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection within the past 6 months;
- Are men and have sex with both men and women;
- Are heterosexual man or woman and do not use a condom every time during sex with partners of unknown HIV status, having substantial risk of HIV infection.
PrEP can be helpful for even those couples where one partner is HIV-positive and are planning to have a child. In that case, consulting your doctor about Truvada for PrEP might be an option to protect you and your baby. If you are found fit for the medication, the doctor will prescribe to take the medication daily and even ask to regularly visit him every 3 months. But even after taking all possible precautions, there is another option called post-exposure prophylaxis which can be used within 72 hours of exposure.
Who should not use Truvada?
The medication is not for those of you who are allergic to emtricitabine or tenofovir. Also do not consume it if you are using other medicines that contain emtricitabine, tenofovir, lamivudine, or adefovir (such as Atripla, Combivir, Complera, Dutrebis, Emtriva, Epivir, Epzicom, Genvoya, Hepsera, Odefsey, Stribild, Triumeq, Trizivir, or Viread).
What should I do before taking this medicine?
Before beginning to use Truvada to reduce your risk of HIV infection, you should take into consideration certain factors:
- You must take a HIV test immediately before you start taking the medicine and have a negative result. An HIV test is also required every 3 months during treatment.
- You can be approved to use Truvada only if you are younger than 12 years old. The child receiving this medicine must weigh at least 37 pounds.
- PrEP should not be used to reduce infection risk if you are already HIV-positive, if have been exposed to HIV within the past month or if you had any of the symptoms like fever, night sweats, swollen glands, diarrhea, body aches.
- Do not forget to tell your doctor if you have a liver or kidney disease, osteopenia (low bone mineral density) or whether you have hepatitis B infection, to make sure Truvada is safe for you.
- It is also seen that women, people who are overweight or even those who have a liver disease and people who have taken HIV/AIDS medication for a long time might be more likely to develop a serious condition called lactic acidosis on taking Truvada. Better talk with your doctor about your risk if you fall under any of this category of people.
- HIV can be passed to your baby if you are not properly treated during pregnancy. Take all of your HIV medicines as directed to control your infection.
- A woman with HIV or AIDS should not breast-feed her baby as even if the baby is born without HIV, the virus may be passed to the baby in your breast milk. One should also not breast-feed while using Truvada to treat or prevent HIV.
How should I take Truvada?
Once you get the prescription for Truvada, follow the dose exactly as prescribed by your doctor and all directions on your prescription label. Never take the medicine either in larger or smaller amounts or extended period than you are recommended. These pills are to be consumed once daily to get the most benefit so always get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely. You can take them even with or without food.
You may need to undergo frequent blood tests while using Truvada which can be once every 3 months. This is to check your kidney and liver function, or bone mineral density. Your doctor may also insist to check your liver function for several months after you stop using Truvada if you have hepatitis B. While keeping in mind all these things, you should always stick to your dose which varies for children and adults.
One tablet once a day with each tablet containing 300mg tenofovir disoproxil fumarate + 200mg emtricitabine.
Children weighing 37lbs (17kg) – 48lbs (22kg): One tablet containing 150mg tenofovir disoproxil fumarate + 100mg emtricitabine once a day.
Children weighing 48lbs (22kg) – 61lbs (28kg): One tablet containing 200mg tenofovir disoproxil fumarate + 133mg emtricitabine once a day.
Children weighing 61lbs (28kg) – 77lbs (35kg): One tablet containing 250mg tenofovir disoproxil fumarate + 167mg emtricitabine once a day.
If you are using a combination of drugs to prevent HIV/AIDS, use all medications as directed by your doctor. Also read the medication guide and abide by the doses as well as medication schedule prescribed by your doctor.
It is important to understand that taking this medication will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. There is nothing more risky than having an unprotected sex or sharing razors or needles, even for a healthy person. Talk freely with your doctor to know about safe ways to prevent HIV transmission during sex.
What happens if I miss a dose or overdose?
Since Truvada medicines are for daily use, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. But if you skip a dose and it is almost time for your next scheduled dose, do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
In case you happen to overdose, seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line.
Where do I store Truvada?
Always remember to store Truvada and all other medicines away from the reach of children. Store these pills at a room temperature 77°F (25°C) in its original container and keep the container tightly closed.
How can I be extra careful while using Truvada?
Although scientists have encouraged the use of these drugs because they are taken once a day, are potent, have relatively low rates of side effects, one should always be cautious about the very few serious side effects TRUVADA may cause.
- Keep a check on common side effects of this medicine include diarrhea, nausea, tiredness, headache, dizziness, depression, problems sleeping, abnormal dreams, and rash. Let your healthcare provider know about it if any of these side effects bother you or do not go away.
- Beware of symptoms of lactic acidosis like weakness or being more tired than usual, unusual muscle pain, being short of breath or fast breathing, nausea, vomiting, stomach-area pain, cold or blue hands and feet, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or fast or abnormal heartbeats. These could be a sign of too much lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency. You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking TRUVADA for a long time.
- Do not overlook the symptoms of liver problems that include your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow, dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored stools, loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, and/or stomach-area pain. There can even be serious liver problems where your liver may become large and tender, and you may develop fat in your liver.
- If you already have hepatitis B (HBV) and stop taking TRUVADA, your hepatitis may suddenly get worse. So do not stop taking the medication without acknowledging your healthcare provider first, as they will need to monitor your health. Also don’t confuse Truvada as a treatment of HBV.
Always be in constant touch with your healthcare provider and do not ignore any new symptoms after you start taking TRUVADA.