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Before you start PrEP

We can help to make sure you start taking PrEP safely.

  • Tell the clinic staff you are planning to take or are taking PrEP so they can give you the right advice, discuss how to take PrEP correctly and offer monitoring tests
  • Have an HIV test
    • Even if you have a finger prick test, you should have a “4th generation” or “antigen/antibody” HIV blood test just before or on the day you start
    • This can be with one of Umbrella’s STI self-sampling kits or from a blood sample
  • Get your kidneys checked
    • One of the components of PrEP can affect your kidney function. This is uncommon, but it is reassuring if your kidney function is normal before you start
    • To check this we do a kidney function blood test and a urine test for protein
    • We can do these tests in the clinic for you
    • If there are any abnormal results, we can advise what to do
    • We may advise more frequent blood tests if you are older, weigh less than 55kg or have kidney related problems
  • All the tests can be done at any Umbrella clinic
  • Check your status for hepatitis B
    • This checks for current hepatitis B infection, which is important to know before you take PrEP (if positive this must be discussed with a specialist doctor), and checks for immunity against hepatitis B
    • If you do not have immunity we can provide a vaccination course in clinic
  • Have a full screen for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • If you are eligible, get vaccinated for human papilloma virus (HPV) and hepatitis A

To be safe

Do not start PrEP if you have a flu-like illness and until you have ruled out HIV infection. Flu-like symptoms can be a sign of very early HIV infection, so it is important you visit the clinic first.

If you are just starting PrEP and have been at risk in the last four weeks it is safest to have another HIV blood test four weeks after starting PrEP, to be sure you were not infected at that time.

PrEP clinics

To discuss PrEP in clinic, please call us on 0121 237 5700 and ask to be booked in for an appointment.