Does PrEP have side effects?

A:

Most of us will not have side effects from PrEP. We know that some people who take PrEP have short-term side effects such as nausea when first starting to take the medication. These side effects usually stop within a few weeks. Our health care provider will likely ask about any side effects we've been having, and may be able to help us manage them!

Decreased kidney function is a possible side effect from PrEP, and is one reason we need to get medical tests as part of accessing PrEP. This side effect is not very common, and can be reversed when we stop taking PrEP.

Decreased bone density is also a possible side effect of Truvada, but more research is needed to understand this side effect for those of us who are HIV-negative. This side effect is not very common, and has also been reversed when people stop taking PrEp. More research is needed to understand this side effect for those of us who are HIV-negative.

These possible side effects are one reason why those of us taking PrEP need to see a health care provider regularly; in most cases, appointments are needed every three months.


YouthCO's office is located on the unceded traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Tsleil-Waututh people. Our programs take place on unceded, ancestral, and traditional territories of many Indigenous nations across what is now called BC.

YouthCO believes that all youth have the right to accessible and affirming information about our health. We also know each of us has a unique relationship to our bodies, sex, sexuality, substance use, and harm reduction. For many of us, the words other people use for our bodies and their functions are not the words we use for ourselves. Throughout our website, YouthCO uses words for bodies and sex that we know will not reflect the full diversity of our communities. We have tried to, where possible, be as expansive with our language as we know how to while being as specific as possible. As youth leading the HIV movement, we too are learning about the best words for our experiences and do not do this perfectly. We invite any feedback about the language used on our website to help us move forward in the best ways for all youth in our communities!