PrEP is safe, and the regimen is generally well-tolerated. The original pill used for PrEP, Truvada, has been used to treat people living with HIV since 2004. PrEP can cause mild side effects, including upset stomach, headaches, and weight loss, especially at the beginning of the regimen.
A very small percentage of patients have issues with their kidneys or bones. That’s why we perform several tests on your first visit to see if you are at risk. We’ll also continue to monitor your health at regular intervals.
Descovy (TAF/FTC) was approved as PrEP in 2019 after a scientific study demonstrated that Descovy is not inferior to Truvada in terms of efficacy for cis men and trans women.
The main difference between Truvada and Descovy as PrEP for cis men and trans women is that for a very small percentage of prospective PrEP users, Truvada might be contraindicated due to bone mineral density or kidney function issues. Descovy can still be safely used in those cases because it has less of an effect on bone mineral density and kidney function than Truvada does. However, this does not mean that Descovy is an overall “safer” drug or that Truvada is “unsafe.”