Used alongside condoms, PrEP is a highly effective method of preventing HIV transmission, and is potentially life saving. (George Frey/Getty Images)
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is a pill used to prevent the transmission of HIV, a disease that still affects thousands of people in the UK.
In 2017 alone there were over 4,000 new HIV diagnoses in the UK, although there’s been a 59 percent decline in the past decade, there’s still a way to go to reach the Health Secretary’s goal of ending HIV transmission by 2030.
Preventing HIV transmission with PrEP
PrEP contains two HIV medicines known as tenofovir and emtricitabine which work together to stop the virus from taking hold of healthy cells and infecting them.
It’s taken before sex or before you may be exposed to the virus so that there is enough medicine in the body to prevent HIV from reaching your cells in the first place.
Used alongside condoms, PrEP is a highly effective method of preventing HIV transmission, and is potentially life saving.
How can you get access to this medicine?
Currently, PrEP is not readily available for free, and if you’ve tried getting PrEP in the past you’ve no doubt come up against a number of obstacles, particularly in England.
The NHS PrEP Impact Trial offers PrEP for free on the NHS to just 13,000 people in England, and with a specific criteria to fill in order to be accepted onto the trial, many people are being turned away and refused this vital drug.
This is where online doctor service and champions of PrEP, Doctor-4-U, can help.
When refused treatment for free many people are turning to the internet to buy this medicine, often from unregulated sources and paying extortionate prices.
Doctor-4-U is one online provider aiming to tackle the unsafe and unlawful provision of PrEP by offering it themselves on prescription from their UK-based pharmacy at a low cost.
Doctor-4-U is one of the cheapest providers of PrEP in the UK. (Doctor-4-U)
What is Doctor-4-U?
Doctor-4-U is an online doctor and prescribing service offering a range of medicines and connecting patients with registered doctors without the need for face to face consultations.
In 2018 Doctor-4-U became one of the first providers of PrEP and one of the cheapest in the UK.
Since then the team at Doctor-4-U have worked hard to make PrEP safe to buy online and more accessible to everyone that needs it.
They’re listed on iwantprepnow.co.uk as a regulated and recommended seller of PrEP, and they’re working with the Terrence Higgins Trust and manufacturer to reduce the price of PrEP, so that anyone, no matter their income or background is able to access such vital medication.
Buying PrEP through Doctor-4-U
Doctor-4-U is one of the cheapest providers of PrEP in the UK that we also found to be the safest, and you can’t put a price on safety.
At the moment you can buy PrEP for £49.99 for 30 tablets at Doctor-4-U.
It’s a confidential service involving an online consultation with their regulated doctors to ensure that the medicine is safe and suitable for you.
Once this is approved it’s sent to you discreetly and securely.
Doctor-4-U pharmacist, James O’Loan says “there shouldn’t be a postcode lottery on who can get PrEP”
The consultant pharmacist at Doctor-4-U states that “PrEP is over 90 percent effective at preventing the spread of HIV through sex, and if this drug was made readily available to everyone we’d see a significant reduction in the number of new HIV diagnoses in this country”.
England in particular are experiencing the repercussions of this “postcode lottery” on PrEP.
As 2017 Public Health England statistics show, England was responsible for 3,973 of the new HIV diagnoses in the UK compared to just 186 in Scotland where PrEP is free on the NHS.
Pharmacist James O’Loan says, “Until this drug becomes free for everyone we want to make it as affordable as possible to prevent people taking this into their own hands and buying from overseas where it is not guaranteed to have gone through the same strict testing and trialing as it does here in the UK”.