PrEP is medication that protects you from HIV. PrEP doesn't protect you against other STIs, only HIV. If you are at high risk of HIV infection, your family doctor or the GGD (municipal health service) can give you a prescription for PrEP.
5 facts about PrEP
- If you take PrEP in the right way and at the right time, it will give you very good protection against HIV.
- You take PrEP daily or when sexually active, depending on what is most appropriate for your sex life.
- PrEP is safe and has few side effects.
- A doctor will supervise your PrEP use, with regular medical checks for HIV, kidney function and STIs.
- PrEP is available at pharmacists, but you will need a prescription from your family doctor. It is also available at some GGDs (municipal health services).
How well does PrEP work?
PrEP provides excellent protection against HIV, as long as you take the pills in the right way and at the right time. Only then is there a sufficient amount of the drug in your body.
Is taking PrEP difficult?
No, taking PrEP is easy. It's a tiny pill swallowed with some water. There are 2 dosing options: 1 pill daily, or 4 pills when sexually active. Lots of people find it easier to take 1 pill daily. Your doctor can help you decide which option is appropriate for your situation and your sex life. You can also switch dosing options.
Who is PrEP meant for?
PrEP is meant for people who are at high risk of contracting HIV. Men, or trans people, who have anal sex with men without using a condom, are at the most risk. To qualify for treatment, you must fit into the high-risk category, and your kidneys need to be functioning normally. You must also be able to take the medication in the right way and at the right time.
How do you get PrEP?
You can get PrEP at your pharmacy with a prescription supplied by your own doctor. Some GGDs offer supervised help with PrEP. Your doctor will use national guidelines to determine whether you are eligible for PrEP.
PrEP from the GGD
From August 2019, 8 GGDs in the Netherlands are providing PrEP care and supervision. There are a limited number of places available in this national PrEP scheme. You pay €7.50 for the medication and the medical check-ups.
Do you want to start taking PrEP? Find the nearest GGD that provides PrEP.
30 pills costs between €30 and €40. Dutch health insurance does not yet cover PrEP, so you have to pay for the pills at the pharmacy. Besides paying for the medication, you will also have to pay for the following medical checks: HIV, STI and kidney function. The cost of these tests is deducted from the excess that has to be paid for health costs. If you can get PrEP care through the GGD, you pay less. It is then €7.50 a month for the medical supervision and the medication.
PrEP medication is safe, even when you take it for a long time. As with any drug, PrEP causes side effects in some people. They may have headaches, nausea or stomach upsets when they start taking PrEP. These symptoms soon disappear automatically and are not a reason to stop taking the medication. 1 in 200 users develop reduced kidney function when taking PrEP. If this happens, you should stop taking it.