1. PrEP in the Neth­er­lands?

PrEP is avail­able in the Neth­er­lands since 2016. Any doctor can pre­scribe PrEP but it is not covered by health insurers. However if you can afford it, this is the easiest way to get PrEP: get a pre­scrip­tion for PrEP from your doctor and buy the pills at the phar­macy. (You’ll pay the full price, which is around €550 for 30 pills.)

Free PrEP is only avail­able in the Neth­er­lands in the H-TEAM’s AMPrEP study, conduct by the Public Health Service of Ams­ter­dam (GGD Ams­ter­dam). In total, 376 men who have sex with men (MSM) and trans­gender people are par­ti­cip­at­ing in this study.

2. Can I buy generic PrEP in the Neth­er­lands?

There are some good, reli­able options of getting generic PrEP. ‘Generic’ means pills with the same ingredi­ents but without the brand name Truvada. The price varies from €30 to €100 a month (if taken daily).

IMPORTANT: Inde­pend­ent PrEP-use has to be done respons­ibly. We have developed a pro­to­col for safe use of generic PrEP. In the pro­to­col we explain which tests you need to do when and where you can have them done, among other things.

There are 5 options in the Neth­er­lands at the moment:

Option 1
Get a PrEP pre­scrip­tion from your doctor and buy the generic pills online. I Want PrEP Now (UK) has a list of their trusted online phar­ma­cies.

Offi­cially, online phar­ma­cies are not allowed to deliver to the Neth­er­lands. Ship­ments may be con­fis­cated by customs, which means you won’t receive your pills. However, if you have friends in the UK, you can have the phar­macy deliver your pills to them. They can then send the pills to you, or you can visit them to pick the pills up your­self.

PrEPnu works closely with Silom PULSE Clinic in Bangkok, Thail­and. They are our pre­ferred sup­plier. For order­ing PrEP online at this clinic you need a valid pre­scrip­tion from a Dutch GP or recent test results (see PrEPnu Pro­to­col) and a copy of your pass­port when filling out their order form, select the option “PrEPnu Neth­er­lands 3 bottles” at selec­tion “PrEP*” for the special PrEPnu price of €30 per bottle of 30 pills (exclud­ing ship­ping and trans­ac­tion costs). You must submit your pre­scrip­tion together with a copy of your pass­port when order­ing. Need help? Send us a message.

Option 2
If you’re trav­el­ling to Bangkok, you can make an appoint­ment at the Silom PULSE Clinic. They offer full sexual health ser­vices includ­ing PrEP. You can legally take home up to ten bottles (with 30 pills each) for per­sonal use.

Option 3
If you live in the Neth­er­lands with (also) the nation­al­ity of a country where generic PrEP is avail­able to be pur­chased or impor­ted with a pre­scrip­tion (for example Aus­tralia, Thail­andSouth AfricaIndia, United Kingdom, United States of America), you can buy the pills in any clinic, phar­macy or online and bring them into the Neth­er­lands in person. with a pre­scrip­tion proven for your per­sonal use. The maximum amount is 300 pills each time.

Option 4
If you are trav­el­ling to coun­tries where generic PrEP pills are avail­able to be pur­chased in local clinics or phar­ma­cies (e.g. Thail­andSouth AfricaIndia), you can buy the pills and bring them into the Neth­er­lands in person with a pre­scrip­tion proven for your per­sonal use. The maximum amount is 300 pills each time.

Option 5
If you are a res­id­ent of the United States of America, you can use this PrEP locator to find avail­able PrEP; you may also be eli­gible for Gilead’s Truvada for PrEP Med­ic­a­tion Assist­ance Program. You can bring maximum 300 pills each time into the Neth­er­lands in person with a pre­scrip­tion proven for your per­sonal use.

3. What is PrEP?

PrEP is a pill that pre­vents you from getting HIV. PrEP stands for Pre-Expos­ure Pro­phy­laxis. The pill (Truvada) con­tains two sub­stances (Teno­fo­vir and Emtri­cit­abine) that prevent HIV infect­ing the body. Truvada was ori­gin­ally designed to treat HIV.

PrEP provides excel­lent pro­tec­tion against HIV, even if you’d forget to use a condom.

4. How does PrEP work?

If you protect your­self with PrEP and you are exposed to HIV, PrEP pre­vents HIV from enter­ing your cells and rep­lic­at­ing. There­fore you will remain HIV neg­at­ive. PrEP is only effect­ive when there is a suf­fi­cient amount of the active sub­stances in your blood before you are exposed to HIV.

5. How is PrEP taken?

PrEP mostly con­sists of taking a pill called Truvada once a day. But it can also be taken around sexual risks events. (See FAQ “Does PrEP have to be taken every­day?”)

6. What are the bene­fits of PrEP?

Sex is fant­astic, but you don’t always make sens­ible decisions once you’re all excited. PrEP pro­tects you against HIV, even when you don’t manage to use a condom, provided that you take your pills as pre­scribed.

When you take PrEP, you will get checked for HIV and STIs at least every three months. PrEP only pro­tects against HIV, in con­trast to condoms that also protect against other STIs. By getting your­self checked for HIV and other STIs reg­u­larly, you can get treat­ment in an early stage if needed.

7. Does PrEP have to be taken every­day?

Taking PrEP on a daily basis is the most stand­ard. However, PrEP is also effect­ive when taken around the time you have sex. This is known as inter­mit­tent use and may be an option for people who plan their sexual activ­it­ies well. With inter­mit­tent use you take a double dose (two Truvade pills) 2 to 24 hours BEFORE sex, and a single dose each of the two days (24 hours and 48 hours) after sex.

8. Does PrEP work?

Yes, it really works! Several studies across the world have shown that PrEP is highly effect­ive in pre­vent­ing HIV. To be effect­ive PrEP has to be taken accord­ing the pre­scribed sched­ule. Reg­u­lar­ity and punc­tu­al­ity are crucial.

9. How soon is it effect­ive?

The time it takes for PrEP to be fully pro­tect­ive depends on several factors. Research shows that when used daily, it takes 4 to 7 days before the sub­stances reach suf­fi­cient levels in the blood and the rectum. It takes more time to be effect­ive in the vagina and the uterus. Vaginal pro­tec­tion is mostly reached after 3 weeks. Inter­mit­tent use of PrEP will only be effect­ive in the blood and rectum when taken accord­ing to the pre­scribed sched­ule. Pro­tec­tion in the vagina with inter­mit­tent use has yet to be fully studied.

10. Are there any side effects?

Most people who take PrEP don’t exper­i­ence side effects. 1 in 10 people exper­i­ence mild side effects like nausea, tired­ness, indi­ges­tion and head­ache. They usually go away on their own within a few weeks.

Teno­fo­vir (one of the sub­stances of Truvada) can result in a decrease in both kidney func­tion and bone density and there­fore, PrEP users are reg­u­larly mon­itored. PrEP studies have shown that these side effects are tem­por­ary: your body will recover once you stop taking PrEP.

11. Should I discuss PrEP with my doctor?

If you are con­sid­er­ing to start PrEP, it is highly recom­men­ded that you discuss this with your family doctor or a doctor at the STI clinic. They will be able to help you to decide if PrEP is right for you. They will give you a few tests includ­ing the most suit­able HIV test and a kidney func­tion test.

*It is import­ant to be abso­lutely sure that you DO NOT have HIV before taking PrEP..

12. How can I support PrEPnu?

You can support PrEPnu with a fin­an­cial con­tri­bu­tion. All gifts will be used for making PrEP afford­ably access­ible in The Neth­er­lands.