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The Safety Risks of Truvada for HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

  • People who contract HIV while taking PrEP will be at significantly higher risk for developing drug resistance, which makes HIV untreatable with most medications. It could even lead to the spread of an untreatable strain of the virus.
  • Taking Truvada for PrEP increases the risk of kidney disease and long-term kidney damage that persist even after people stop taking the drug.

The Precautions Needed to Protect People Who Will Be Put At Risk If They Take PrEP

  • Individuals get monthly HIV viral load testing: AHF recommends that all individuals get tested by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR, a type of viral load test) initially, as well as every month before being prescribed a new 30-day supply of PrEP. A monthly PCR test will narrow down the window of infection to as little as a few days, to minimize the chances of drug resistance. PCR testing specifically is necessary, because the more common antibody-based testing approach may miss seroconverting patients in whom the antibodies are not yet detectable.
  • Individuals undergo testing for kidney function very six months: AHF recommends individuals get tested for kidney function every six months to check for kidney damage associated with use of Truvada. This will identify people who are showing early signs of kidney damage, enabling providers to consider recommending the cessation of PrEP for their patients.