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Sexual Health Services for LGBT People



Welcome to Birmingham LGBT sexual health services, part of the Umbrella partnership delivering sexual health services across Birmingham and Solihull

Our sexual health services are:

Free and Accessible
Confidential and non-judgemental
Professionally and sensitively delivered
Tailored to be comfortable and appropriate for LGB and T people

Our sexual health team  offer advice and support around your sexual health and well-being needs as well as facilitating access to other services and activities. Our sexual health service comprises a range of specialist roles to ensure services are accessible to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people and includes specialist sexual health outreach Workers for gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men (MSM), trans community, lesbian and bisexual women and BME people within our community.

Our services include:

  • 7 Days a week access to sexual health services
  • Weekly nurse led sexual health drop in clinic – Every Thursday 12pm-7.15pm run from Birmingham LGBT Centre (Can be attended if you have symptoms or need STI treatment)
  • Monthly trans sexual health clinic (4th Friday of delivery Month 4-7pm)
  • Rapid testing for HIV (instant results) – available 7 days a week
  • STI testing for the most common STI’s – available 7 days a week
  • Free self-sampling kit service. This service allows you to take you’re your own samples to be sent to the lab for testing. This kit tests for HIV, Syphilis, Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia.
  • Free condoms, dams, gloves and lube by post service
  • Provision and access to free condoms and lube from gay bars/venues.
  • Information, advice and support around sexual health and well-being issues – available from the sexual health services team at the Birmingham LGBT centre and in outreach settings.
  • Independent Sexual Violence Advocates (ISVAs) offer practical and emotional support if you have experienced rape, sexual assault or sexual abuse.

Contact the Sexual Health Team on 0121 643 0821 or email us on sexualhealth@blgbt.org  or like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/umbrellaatbirminghamlgbt/ for more details

Alternatively, you can use the other Umbrella sexual health services in Birmingham and Solihull and you can find these at the Umbrella website or by calling 0121 237 5700


Coming soon 


We now have a ChemSex Drop-in service for Gay, Bi, MSM & Trans Men.

This service runs on alternative Thursday mornings form 9-12 from the Birmingham LGBT Centre, supported by CGL & the Umbrella sexual health partnership.  please contact the sexual health team for more information via sexualhealth@blgbt.org or 0121 643 0821.





Our next drop in clinic is

Thursday 25th May 2017

Thursday Drop in Clinic

Birmingham LGBT  offers a free, confidential symptomatic clinic every Thursday. You do not need to be referred from elsewhere, just turn up.

You can be tested for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, access a full range of sexual health information and more. Our nurse-led services are delivered by experienced, professional and non-judgemental staff.

The clinic opens at 12pm, last slot for “walk-in” patients is at 6.30pm. The clinic operates on a “first come first served” basis

The Umbrella clinic service includes:

Testing for most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Rapid HIV tests

Hepatitis B screening and vaccinations.

Sexual health advice/ information

Free condoms & Lube


Rapid HIV testing at Birmingham LGBT

If you think you might be at risk or if you think you have been exposed to HIV, we would advise you to get tested. The earlier HIV is detected, the better. With modern treatments available for HIV the prognosis for people diagnosed promptly is that a long and healthy life can be expected.

Our rapid HIV testing service is fast, free and confidential

At Birmingham LGBT our skilled, trained sexual health staff can provide rapid HIV testing (often referred to as POCT – Point of Care Testing).

We offer a completely confidential and free rapid HIV test which involves a simple finger prick sample of your blood and will give you an almost instant result.

We use the Insti HIV antibody test produced by BioLytical laboratories. The test is 99.96% accurate in detecting HIV following the 12-week window period.

How do I book a rapid HIV test?

Simply call the sexual health team on 0121 643 0821 who will be happy to arrange a convenient time for you to come in to the LGBT Centre to have your test.

What’s involved and how long will it take?

The whole process of rapid HIV testing is quick and simple and can be done in a few easy steps:

  1. Contact the sexual health team on 0121 643 0821 and book your test.
  2. We will take some brief details from you when you come in and give you some pre-test information about the test so that you can give your informed consent to be tested.
  3. We will perform the simple finger prick rapid HIV test and give you your results.
  4. We will give you some post-test information and offer you any further support or follow up which you may need.

The whole process usually takes 20-25 minutes.

Frequently asked questions

It’s been 12 weeks or more since I think I was put at risk of HIV infection. Should I have the rapid test?

If it is more than 12 weeks you can have a rapid HIV test and be confident about the result of the test and not need to test again – unless you have had other risks of HIV exposure within this 12 weeks.

It’s been less than 3 days since I think I was put at risk of HIV infection. Should I have the rapid test?

If you have been exposed to HIV and it was less than 3 days ago you may be eligible for an emergency HIV medication called PEPSE (Post exposure Prophylaxis after Sexual Exposure). This is a 4 week course of HIV medication that may prevent you from becoming infected with HIV, but only if it is started within 72 hours after exposure.

See our section on PEPSE on this website: To obtain PEPSE you would need to go to Whittall Street sexual health clinic or Accident & Emergency department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital if it is outside the sexual health clinic normal opening hours. The consultant you see will assess your risk, and if it is appropriate will prescribe PEPSE for you.

IMPORTANT: Please note that we DO NOT issue PEPSE at the Birmingham LGBT Centre

What happens if my test result is negative? 

If your test result is negative (this means that HIV has not been detected by the test), this will firstly give you peace of mind. It is useful at this time to consider the reasons you came in for the test. Perhaps you think you put yourself at greater risk than you usually do? Are there any changes you want to make to your approach to your sexual health? Are there issues that you would like to discuss regarding your sexual health or HIV? You can ask for confidential information or advice from our sexual health team who will be happy to discuss any questions you may have.

What happens if my test result is reactive (positive)?

If you have a reactive test result (this means HIV antibodies may have been detected) you will be referred to an Umbrella sexual health clinic who will do a confirmation HIV test and discuss your results with you. This would usually be done at Whittall Street Clinic. They will advise whether you need medication to manage your HIV and can also refer you on to a HIV specialist if infection is confirmed. If this is the case, the news may be upsetting to you, but you will have done the right thing by being tested and diagnosed as this will mean that you would be able to access extremely good specialist care and treatment. You will also have access to support from organisations who provide services for people living with or affected by HIV.

About the trans sexual health clinic at Birmingham LGBT

About the trans sexual health clinic at Birmingham LGBT

Birmingham LGBT supported by Umbrella are committed to providing quality, accessible and appropriate sexual health services for the trans community. We offer a monthly sexual health and well-being clinic for all trans people.

We provide a safe, confidential space for those who may not feel comfortable accessing general sexual health services.

The clinic is consultant or nurse led and facilitated by our trans sexual health outreach worker and trans volunteers.

Here to support you, not judge you

What services are available at the trans clinic?

  • Free, confidential sexual health screening for STI’s (Including HIV and Hepatitis B)
  • HIV rapid testing (POCT) with results given in just a few minutes.
  • Liver function tests and Full blood count tests (important for monitoring the impact of hormone therapy)
  • Hepatitis B testing and vaccination
  • Cervical smear testing (for any person with a cervix)
  • Advice on PEPSE – Post-Exposure Prophylaxis after Sexual Exposure (emergency HIV medication).
  • Advice on contraception.
  • Access to support from our trans sexual health outreach worker.
  • Access to counselling services
  • Support around sexual violence or assault with direct access to an LGBT ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Advocate)
  • Support around domestic violence with access to an LGBT IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advocate)
  • Access to our sexual health peer mentoring programme.
  • Access to social support & community groups

When does the trans sexual health clinic run?

The first clinic will take place on Friday 29th July from 4pm-7pm. The clinic will continue to run on the 4th Friday of each month from 4pm – 7pm.

The clinic runs on a first come first seen basis.

What the clinic cannot do:

We offer a sexual health clinic, and do not offer the same services as a gender identity clinic. However, if you have any concerns about taking hormones bought from the internet or otherwise, you can discuss this confidentially with the nurse or doctor you see.  We may not be able to deal with the issue there and then but we can offer appropriate advice and may be able to refer you to an appropriate service.

How do I get in touch?

Contact the Sexual Health Team and ask to speak to the Trans Sexual Health Outreach Worker for more information

Tel: 0121 643 0821               e-mail: sexualhealth@blgbt.org            www.birminghamlgbt.org.uk


Trans Sexual Health Outreach Worker

Our sexual health team at Birmingham LGBT includes a dedicated trans sexual health outreach worker who provides specific sexual health and well-being services for trans people.

How could this support me?

The trans outreach workers focus is on the sexual health and well-being of trans people and understanding the barriers that the trans community can often encounter in accessing mainstream services. The aim of this role is to:

  • Provide appropriate and easily accessible services for trans people to access and speak freely.
  • Provide a trans specific sexual health and well-being clinic
  • Provide confidential one to one support and advice for trans people who require this around their sexual health & well-being
  • Provide testing, information and sign-posting
  • Provide a link between other relevant services and facilitate referrals
  • Provide sexual health promotion outreach to various on/off scene venues
  • Facilitate organise and promote groups and events focusing on trans health

How do I get in touch?

Contact the Sexual Health Team and ask to speak to the Trans Sexual Health Outreach Worker for more information

Tel: 0121 643 0821           e-mail: sexualhealth@blgbt.org          www.birminghamlgbt.org.uk

FREE Condoms, Lube, Dams and Gloves

Birmingham LGBT offers FREE condoms and lube to LGBT people and men who have sex with men in Birmingham and Solihull.

You can get condoms in the following ways;
Collect from the Birmingham LGBT Centre, in the city centre.
Pick up from LGBT venues (listed opposite)
Order ‘Condoms by Post’ (see below)

Pick Up
Just turn up to get your condom and or lube supplies at the LGBT Centre. We offer broad selection of different sizes, like trim for slim, regular, large, x Large and King Size.  Having the right size condom for yourself/partner(s) and water based lube prevents condom failure. We also stock latex free in case you or your partner(s) have a latex sensitivity.

By Post
We’ll send you 10 condoms and lube of your choice at a time, for free, and in a plain envelope. You can obtain free condoms and lubricants if you are a resident in either Birmingham or Solihull. Just follow this link and complete the simple form, you condoms will be dispatched within 3 working days


Or contact Birmingham LGBT Sexual Health at sexualhealth@blgbt.org or by calling 0121 6430821


You can still pick up your condom supplies from all the same venues in Birmingham’s gay village. Birmingham LGBT is now the distributor of the condoms and lube to the gay village. 


Fountain Inn

Missing Bar



The Wellington

UNIT 2 Sauna

Village Inn



About condoms

Condoms are made from very thin latex (rubber), polyisoprene or polyurethane, and are designed to stop a man’s pre-cum or cum from coming into contact with his sexual partner.

When condoms are used correctly during anal, vaginal and oral sex, they help to protect against STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections).

  • If used correctly every time you have sex, condoms are very effective.
  • Oil-based products, such as moisturiser, lotion and Vaseline, can make latex and polyisoprene condoms less effective and can destroy them so should not be used.
  • Water-based lubricant is safe to use with all condoms.
  • It’s possible for a condom to slip off during sex. If this happens, you may need to get checked for STIs.
  • Condoms need to be stored in places that aren’t too hot or cold, and away from sharp or rough surfaces that could tear them or wear them away.
  • Putting on a condom can be an enjoyable part of sex, and doesn’t have to feel like an interruption.
  • If you’re sensitive to latex, you can use LATEX FREE condoms instead.
  • A condom must not be used more than once. Use a new one each time you have sex.
  • Condoms have a use-by date on the packaging. Don’t use out-of-date condoms.
  • Always buy condoms that have the BSI kite mark and the CE mark on the packet. This means that they’ve been tested to high safety standards. Condoms that don’t have the BSI kite mark and CE mark won’t meet these standards, so don’t use them.

Step by Step Guide to using Condoms

  • Take the condom out of the packet, taking care not to tear it with jewellery or fingernails – do not open the packet with your teeth.
  • Place the condom over the tip of the erect cock.
  • If there’s a teat on the end of the condom, use your thumb and forefinger to squeeze the air out of it.
  • Gently roll the condom down to the base of the cock.
  • If the condom won’t roll down, you’re probably holding it the wrong way round – if this happens, throw the condom away because it may have cum on it, and try again with a new one.
  • After sex, withdraw the cock while it’s still erect – hold the condom onto the base of the cock while you do this.
  • Remove the condom from the penis, being careful not to spill any semen.
  • Throw the condom away in a bin, not down the toilet.
  • Make sure the cock does not touch the partner’s genital area again.
  • If you have sex again, use a new condom.
  • Men who have difficulty keeping an erection may not be able to use condoms, as the cock must be erect to prevent cum leaking from the condom, or the condom slipping off.

Advantages of condoms

  • Condoms help to protect both partners from STIs, including chlamydiagonorrhoea and HIV.
  • You only need to use them when you have sex – they do not need advance preparation and are suitable for unplanned sex.
  • There are no medical side effects from using condoms.
  • Condoms are easy to get hold of and come in a variety of sizes and flavours.

Some common concerns about using condoms

  • Some people find that using condoms interrupts sex – to get around this, try to make using a condom part of foreplay.
  • Condoms are very strong, but may split or tear if not used properly.
  • Some people may be allergic to latex, but you can get condoms that are latex free and less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
  • When using a condom, a man has to pull out after he has cum and before the cock goes soft, holding the condom firmly in place. If male condoms aren’t used properly, they can slip off or split. If this happens, practise putting them on so that you get used to using them properly.

CONDOM SIZE GUIDE: http://www.pasante.com/condoms/

You can also buy condoms from:

  • pharmacies
  • supermarkets
  • websites
  • mail-order catalogues
  • some petrol stations

Condom Tips

Here are some of the key things you need to know about condoms.

Always choose condoms that carry the BSI kite mark or European CE mark, as they are recognised safety standards. Don’t use novelty condoms, unless they carry the BSI kite mark or CE mark.

Always put on the condom before there’s any contact between the cock and the mouth, arse or vagina.

Use a new condom every time you have sex.

If you’re having a long sex session, change condoms after 30 minutes. Friction can weaken the condom, making it more likely to break or fail.

Never use two condoms together, whether that’s two male condoms or a female and a male condom. They will rub against each other, and this friction can weaken them and make them more likely to break or fail.

Heat can damage condoms, so store them somewhere cool and dry.

Check the expiry date on the packaging, as condoms don’t last forever and may be past the point at which they work.

Get condoms before going on holiday to avoid problems with language and trying to find somewhere to buy them.

Don’t use body lotions, moisturiser, massage oil, body oil, lipstick or any other oil-based product (such as petroleum jelly, or Vaseline) with latex condoms. This is because they can weaken the condom, making it less effective.

Use plenty of water-based lubricant, especially for anal sex.

Using condoms during oral sex can help protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), You could try using flavoured condoms for variety.

Wrap used condoms in a tissue or piece of paper and put them in a dustbin. Don’t flush used condoms down the toilet. If you’re on a cruising ground please take your litter with you and dispose of it properly.

If you buy condoms online, don’t buy from auction sites such as eBay. Make sure that any condoms you buy have the BSI kite mark or CE mark and haven’t gone past the use-by date on the packaging.


Using lubricant

It is really important to ensure you use enough lube when having sex. This is particularly important for anal sex, to reduce the chance of condoms splitting, or of injuries such as skin tears.

If you are using latex condoms, use plenty of water based lube such as:

  • Liquid silk
  • Glide
  • TLC
  • KY
  • There are many other safe lubes

Do not use oil-based lubricants, such as, baby oil, body oil or lotion, petroleum jelly or creams (such as Vaseline). This is because they can damage the condom and make it more likely to split.

If you are unsure which lube to use, please contact us for advice.

CONDOM SIZE GUIDE: http://www.pasante.com/condoms/


Using latex gloves for sex acts such as fisting can cut the risk of infections if a new glove is used with each sexual partner. It is easy to damage the lining of the arse when fisting, so if fisting is followed by fucking without a condom then transmission of HIV to either partner is more likely.

GET FREE CONDOMS, DAMS, GLOVES AND LUBE: http://blgbt.org/sexual-health/

CONDOM SIZE GUIDE: http://www.pasante.com/condoms/


What is a Dam?

Dams (or Dental dams) are designed for safer oral sex. A dam is a small sheet of rectangular latex that acts as a protective barrier between the mouth and the arse or vagina. If you are sexually active, using a dam can help reduce the risk of picking up or passing on an STI this way.

How to Use a Dam

Using a dam may feel awkward at first, but they’re easy to get used to. Some people may feel that using a dental dam will take away from the pleasure of oral sex , but this is not necessarily the case. Dams can provide a different, yet pleasurable sensation by adding flavor to your oral experience.

Use a new dam for each different sex act, just like we advise with a condom. If you switch back and forth with partners use a new dam every time you switch.

  • Do not use any oil-based lubricants such as Vaseline, olive oils, petroleum jelly, baby oil, or lotions. Oil based lubricants can break down the material (latex) of the dam, causing it to leak or tear.


STI self-sampling kits

If you’re aged 16 or over and living in Birmingham or Solihull, you can request a free sexually transmitted infection (STI) self-sampling kit. You can use the kit to take your own samples at home and send them back to us for free. We’ll test your samples and let you know the results by phone or text message for free.

Did we mention it’s free?

All kits allow testing for:

  • chlamydia
  • gonorrhoea
  • HIV
  • syphilis
  • Hepatitis B is also included for men who have sex with men

You can order your free kit online at https://umbrellahealth.co.uk/our-services/self-sampling-kits


Advice and Support

Gay and bisexual men, and other men who have sex with men (MSM), should be able to enjoy long, healthy lives and have respectful and fulfilling social and sexual relationships.

Birmingham LGBT, in partnership with Umbrella, is here to support your sexual health & wellbeing. We want to help you stay safe by significantly reducing the number of new HIV infections.

We can offer you advice and support around your sexual wellbeing. The more facts you know about sex and relationships, the more confident you will feel when it comes to talking about it. There’s lots of information available, especially on the internet, but not all of it is accurate.

You can book an appointment with our specially trained staff and have one to one support that works for you.

New and Exciting Services Coming Soon:

Trans Clinic:

Initially a Consultant led, moving to Nurse led, monthly Trans Clinic specifically for Trans Men and Women. Liaising and working with a range of agencies to deliver STI/HIV screening as well as more holistic support and advice on pertinent issues such as substance misuse and mental and emotional health and well-being.

Sexual Health LGBT Peer Mentor Volunteering Programme

We will be looking to recruit and train Volunteer LGBT Peer Mentors to offer support to fellow community members, to explore questions they may have related to their sexuality or sex-life in a friendly and relaxed environment. LGBT community members will be paired with trained mentors to share experiences to support participants to have a happy, healthy sex life and support them to heave greater understanding of looking after their own well-being. This service is for those affected by or living with HIV.

If you want to take an active step in giving something back to the Birmingham LGBT community, this project allows you to do just that and will look great on your CV when looking for work. We will offer you the knowledge, training & supervision to excel in the Peer Support you offer.”

Well Woman Clinic:

Monthly Well Women clinic, specifically for Lesbian and Bisexual Women with a range of services on offer including screening for STIs and as well as HPV screening and cervical cytology.  As well as offering more holistic support, information and advice around issues such as alcohol use, mental and emotional health and well-being and other lifestyle issues.

PEPSE (Post Exposure Prophylaxis after Sexual Exposure)

PEPSE (Post Exposure Prophylaxis after Sexual Exposure) is a type of medication that can be taken up to 72 hours after exposure to HIV to stop you becoming infected.

If you’ve had sex without a condom, or if the condom broke during sex, you may be able to use PEPSE.

It is vital that this medication is given within 72 hours of the potential exposure to the virus as the medication is not effective after this time. The earlier PEPSE can be given the better. If you’ve had sex with somebody who you think may be HIV positive within the last 72 hours, it’s important to get help straight away. Please don’t leave it until the 72 hours is up or nearly up.

What you need to know before starting PEPSE

  • The medication needs to be taken for one month after the initial dose to be effective
  • It can have unpleasant side effects, e.g. nausea, diarrhoea
  • PEPSE medication is not 100% guaranteed to work
  • You will need to be monitored carefully during the month when you take the tablets and then for another three months afterwards

What happens if I need to have PEPSE?

  • If you have had a condomless sex or a condom breakage during sex with someone who is HIV positive, please attend Whittall Street Clinic (if it’s within opening hours) or your local A&E department straight away
  • The doctor you see will take some blood tests from you, to check for liver function, kidney function, blood count and may test for hepatitis B and syphilis
  • You will have a HIV test prior to starting treatment, as if you are already HIV positive, giving PEPSE may reduce the types of HIV medication which could be used to treat you in the future
  • The doctor will explain how to take the medication and ask you to sign to say you are happy to take it
  • You will be asked to attend a further appointment to ensure you are not having any problems with the medication
  • Once you have finished the month’s course you will have an appointment for blood tests to check your kidney and liver function
  • After three months you will be asked to come back in for a final HIV test


PEPSE should never be thought of as a substitute for using condoms.

What is PrEP (Pre Exposure Prophylaxis)?

“PrEP” stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. PrEP is a way for people who don’t have HIV, but who are at very high risk of getting it, to prevent HIV infection. This is by taking a pill containing two medicines, that are also used to treat HIV,  every day at periods of high risk. If you take PrEP and are exposed to HIV through sex, these medicines can work to keep the virus from taking hold in your body*.

PrEP can be combined with condoms and other prevention methods to provide even greater protection than when used alone.

There are two proven ways of using PrEP when the risk is from anal sex.  One is to take it all the time during periods of risk (the PROUD study)  and the other (the IPERGAY study) is to take a double dose 2-24 hours before you know you are going to have risky sex and then daily until 48 hours after you stop having risky sex. Both methods have been proven to work but there is more research to support the PROUD method of daily use. For vaginal sex only this daily method has been proven to work.  People who use PrEP must be proven to be HIV negative and must commit to taking the drugs properly. They need regular HIV and STI testing need checking that the drugs have no serious side effects with blood and urine tests to make sure that the medicine are not affecting your kidneys.  This is because if PrEP is used after HIV infection it can make treatment more complicated.

*Even though several studies have shown PrEP to be highly effective at reducing rates of new HIV infections by as much as 86%, and with high rates of new HIV infections being reported year on year, NHS England has not yet agreed to make PrEP available via the NHS. Birmingham LGBT feels that this is wrong and supports many other UK sexual health and HIV organisations in calling for PrEP to be available on the NHS urgently.

Who can use PrEP?

PrEP is not for everyone. The aim of PrEP is for it to be used for people who are HIV-negative and at high risk for HIV infection. This may include anyone who is in an ongoing relationship with an untreated HIV-positive partner as well as for people who are having risky unprotected sex who find it difficult to consistently use condoms as a prevention method.

PrEP is not available in the UK on NHS prescription. PrEP has only been made available in the UK to people enrolled in research trials and by private prescription from some GPs or sexual health clinics. PrEP is already available in other countries including, the USA, France, Israel, Kenya.  Some people are buying PrEP over the Internet as the drugs are much cheaper when they are imported from developing countries.

People who inject drugs or have shared needles might also consider using PrEP, for example if you engage in Chemsex but it will not protect you against Hepatitis C and how effective it is for preventing HIV infection from injection is unclear.

If you have a partner who is HIV-positive and are considering getting pregnant, talk to your doctor about PrEP. It may be an option to protect you and your baby.

PrEP involves taking medication daily during periods of high risk and regular visits to a GP or other clinic for U and E (Urine and Electrolyte) tests to monitor your kidney and liver health and regularly be screened for HIV infection.

PrEP should only be used for people who are at ongoing substantial risk of HIV infection. For people who need to prevent HIV after a single high-risk event of potential HIV exposure—such as sex without a condom, needle-sharing injecting drug use, or sexual assault—there is another option called Post Exposure Prophylaxis, or PEP. PEP must begin within 72 hours of exposure.

It’s also important to remember that taking PrEP will not prevent you from getting other sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) such as syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, or other STI’s, or from becoming pregnant. PrEP will also not protect you from getting hepatitis C.

How Well Does PrEP Work?

In 2 recent studies (PROUD and IPERGAY) PrEP has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk from anal sex by as much as 86%, overall.  It is thought that the infections that did occur were in people who did not take their medication properly.  There has been a report of someone on PrEP who became infected by someone with antiviral resistant virus.

PrEP is much less effective if it is not taken properly  PrEP can be even more effective if it is combined with other ways to prevent new HIV infections such as condom use, drug treatment, and adherence to treatment for people living with HIV to further reduce the chance of HIV being passed on.

Read more about PrEP and the PROUD and IPERGAY studies here:





Does PrEP have side effects?

Some people in clinical studies of PrEP had early side effects such as an upset stomach or loss of appetite, headache, but these are usually mild and usually go away within the first month. Some people did have some kidney disturbance but this did not lead to serious long term kidney problems.

The medication used in PrEP has been used to treat people living with HIV for many years and has been shown to be low risk of serious side effects. However, if using PrEP and you are experiencing side effects, you should discuss this with with the GP or clinic where you are having your regular check ups.  Ideally you have a kidney function blood test and a urine test before you start and may need this repeating if you remain on PrEP

Where Can I Get PrEP in the UK?

PrEP is not available on the NHS in the UK however many people choose to obtain PrEP via the internet. There are always risks in buying anything online, but we have included the following links for you to obtain more information if you are considering buying or acquiring PrEP:

Can I get PrEP privately in the UK?: http://i-base.info/qa/10696

Where can I but PrEP online and is it legal in the UK?: http://i-base.info/qa/10734

How can I check that PrEP I buy from the internet is genuine: http://i-base.info/qa/10695

How do I safely use PrEP if I buy it online?: http://i-base.info/qa/10528

Recommended reading if considering buying PrEP online: www.iwantprepnow.co.uk and http://prepster.info/

What is the Medication Used in PrEP?

The pill used by people using PrEP for daily use who are at very high risk of getting HIV infection is called Truvada®.

Truvada® is a combination of two HIV medications (tenofovir and emtricitabine). In other parts of the world it is available as a cheaper generic (non patented) product.  Most commonly this is from an Indian company called Cipla.  These medicines work by blocking important pathways that HIV uses to set up an infection. If you take PrEP daily, the presence of the medicine in your bloodstream can often stop HIV from taking hold and infecting you with the virus.

Dosage is very important: If you do not take PrEP properly  there may not be enough medicine in your bloodstream to block the HIV virus. If you are infected you virus may then have some resistance to Truvada and may affect your later treatment.

Read more about PrEP and the PROUD and IPERGAY studies here:






Related Reading

HIV Awareness for World AIDS Day 2016
Sexual Health Week 2016 – Trans Sexual Health
Sexual Health Week 2016 – Lesbian and Bisexual Women’s Sexual Health