Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

PrEP is medication you take every day to reduce your risk of HIV infection. It consists of two medications (emtricitabine and tenofovir DF) in one pill also known as Truvada. PrEP is a part of a comprehensive HIV prevention strategy.

PrEP is recommended for anyone who has a potential risk of exposure to HIV in a variety of situations. Anybody requesting PrEP will be assessed by a health care provider about risk and options for PrEP referral.

The medication has very few side effects, which can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches and/or and fatigue. These side effects are rare.

It is best to see your family doctor or nurse practitioner, if you have one. Some family doctors or nurse practitioners will prescribe PrEP to you directly, while some will refer you to see a specialist* at first.

If you do not have a primary care provider, or if you do not feel comfortable discussing PrEP with them, come see us at Gay Zone or the Sexual Health Clinic and we will make a referral for you to see a specialist* for PrEP.

*  To see a specialist, you need a referral from a health care provider (e.g. a doctor or a nurse practitioner).

Specialists* who prescribe PrEP in Ottawa. 



Dr. MacPherson (The Ottawa General Hospital)

501 Smyth Rd

Dr. Saeed (University of Ottawa Health Services)

316 Rideau St

West Ottawa Specialty Care

210-770 Broadview Ave


Before starting PrEP, there are a few things to consider:

  1. You will be taking medication daily. PrEP is most effective when taken as prescribed.
  2. You will be assessed by a healthcare provider. This will include checking to make sure you are HIV and hepatitis B negative, checking your kidney function, as well as a general STI screen.
  3. A referral will be sent to a specialist. Wait times to start PrEP may vary.
  4. The medication is covered under some insurance plans. It is important to check what your insurance plan covers. 

You will need to see your health care provider every 3 months for HIV and kidney function testing to avoid any health complications from the medication. STI assessment and testing will be offered at all visits, and treatment will be given as needed. Kidney function testing is done to see how well your kidneys are working. In a small percentage of people, PrEP medication can affect how efficiently your kidneys filter your blood, which could put you at risk for complications.

Check out these resources for more information on PrEP:

8 Questions about PrEP for Guys by CATIE

PrEP to Prevent HIV: Your Questions Answered by CATIE

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