Currently PrEP is available as a generic version of the drug Truvada.
Each manufacturer will create a pill which may look a little different however all of the generic forms of Truvada contain the same active ingredients Tenofivir and Emtricitabine, the medication that protects against HIV infection that makes PrEP work.
PrEP is a tablet when taken daily can reduce the risk of HIV infection by over 99%. To be most effective the it is recommended to take the tablet on a regular basis ie. each day.
Life can be hectic and for some a daily tablet can be tricky. A study at the City University of New York School of Public Health has identified 6 different ways to help ensure you are remembering your daily tablet:
Using A Pill Box
Pill boxes are a great way to help give a visual reminder of whether you have taken your tablet or not. They also have the advantage of letting you know when you are about to run out of your medications, a second reminder for when you need to return to your doctor for a new script as well as your quarterly sexual health check up.
Visual Cue Systems
There are many ways to remind yourself to take your tablet… Some ideas include a sticker on your mirror that reminds you that you need to take a tablet. One idea that worked for a patient was a post it note on his coffee container that said “Have you taken your pill?” Often it’s the simple things that work the best!
Having A Regular Routine
The human mind loves routine… Get up, take your pill, have a shower. This has been my daily routine for years… The key is to find something that you do on a regular basis and then attach taking your pill to this. Do you always start your day with a coffee? Stick your tablets next to your coffee cup so you will always be reminded of your PrEP when you prepare your coffee. If you take your medicine before you sleep, put the tablets beside your bed with a glass of water to remind you. Find that one thing you do on a regular basis!
Set A Smart Phone Reminder
Almost all phones now have alarms and reminder systems you can set to go off on a daily basis. One simple idea is to set an alarm that goes off each morning say 30 min after you have woken up. Call it “take your pill” and you have your daily reminder. Of course there are many apps you can download onto your phone to remind you to take your tablets. Check them out but I find the simple solutions are the ones that work the best.
Carry A Spare Pill With You
Life can be hectic. Sometimes we leave the house quickly and can forget out tablets. I have a small metal pill container that has a couple of my PrEP tablets inside it. I’ve thrown this into my work bag so I have a spare if I ever need it. I found this on on Amazon that works great for me -> Waterproof Pill Container TIP: make sure you get a water proof one just in cast it gets thrown into the washing machine.
Get A PrEP Buddy
If you have a close friend who also takes PrEP, set up a daily check in where you call or text to remind each other to take your medications… This simple system can help ensure you both are taking your meds as well as a great chance to keep in touch!
As you can see there are many ways to ensure you are able to take your tablet each day. Remember that when taken daily PrEP is highly effective in reducing the risk of HIV infection. It’s normal to miss one or two tablets, I hope these ideas reduce this occurrence helping you stay healthy and in control of your health.
What’s your favourite way to ensure you get your daily pill? Leave a comment below.