PrEP FOR HIV PREVENTION

A prescription medicine can help
reduce the risk of getting HIV.

PrEP FOR HIV PREVENTION

A prescription medicine can help
reduce the risk of getting HIV.

What is Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is a way for people who do not have HIV but who are at very high risk of getting HIV to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. There are two treatments available, Truvada or Descovy. When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection.

When taken daily, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV. Studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken daily. Among people who inject drugs, PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV by at least 74% when taken daily. PrEP is much less effective if it is not taken consistently.

As PrEP only protects against HIV, condoms are important for protection against other STDs.

How can we help you?

Fill out this form and a member of the pharmacy staff will contact you. For faster service, call us at (800) 877-0337.

Trust a pharmacy that understands PrEP.

At Drug Mart, we have extensive experience filling prescriptions for patients on PrEP. Our pharmacists are experts and will answer any questions you may have about treatment, interactions or side effects. We fill your PrEP prescription on the same day we receive it.

We work with you and your doctor to ease the burden by handling insurance claims, prior authorizations, and supporting clinical documentation. Our staff can assist you with signing up for financial assistance so you don’t pay any out-of-pocket expense for PrEP.

OUR SERVICES

Pharmacy Team on Call

Patients access to specially trained pharmacists 24/7. We utilize a direct access phone system so you can speak with a pharmacist right away.

Financial Support

We help enroll patients in copay and other financial assistance programs. PrEP treatments is usually zero out-of-pocket expense.

Free Prescription Delivery

Drug Mart offers free prescription pickup and delivery. We offer free same day delivery in NJ and free next day shipping to NY & PA.

Medication In Stock

We know how important it is to not miss a dose. Drug Mart keeps medications for PrEP in stock. This means you can start your treatment right away.

In Network Pharmacy

We accept most prescription insurance plans, all Medicare Part D Plans, Medicaid, TriCare, and major HMOs. Our staff gets prior authorizations approved from insurance plans expeditiously.

Multilingual Staff

Our staff is fluent in English and Spanish. It is very important for us to make sure every person is counseled and knowledgeable in how to take their medicine.

FAQs

Drug Mart is dedicated to meeting the needs of individuals on PrEP. Our pharmacists are experts in managing HIV/AIDS, medication therapy and finding valuable treatment resources. You can rest assured that you have picked a partner who will work with you and your doctor to achieve your treatment goals.

Drug Mart Pharmacy stocks both medications, Truvada and Descovy that are used for PrEP.

Drug Mart offers free prescription delivery to any location (home or office) in New Jersey, New York or Pennsylvania.

Drug Mart is licensed in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. If you live in one of these States, complete the form at Get Started, and our pharmacy team will handle the rest.

Yes. Drug Mart offers the blister pack, multi-dose medication packaging to any patient who take more than 5 medications per day. Each pack is made up of 28 individual blisters containing a person’s prescribed medication for a specific time and date. This service is completely free-of-charge.

Manufacturers have prescription copay assistance programs. Our staff is trained to find these savings and help lower the price you pay for your prescription. In most cases, patients pay zero dollar out-of-pocket for their PrEP prescription medication.

Our staff at Drug Mart can help enroll you in the AIDS Drug Distribution Program (ADDP also known as the Ryan White Program) or find financial assistance through a foundation or the manufacturer so you get your medicine right away.

Gilead offers a savings program to help uninsured and underinsured patients get Trruvada or Descovy for free. Your prescription may be free if you qualify. Ask a pharmacist at Drug Mart to help enroll you into this assistance program.

Although there is no cure for HIV, Truvada and Descovy have extremely impressive performance when it comes to HIV treatment. Although they may have a slightly different drug composition with Descovy being a pro-drug of Truvada, they both result in high efficacy and tolerability with Descovy having slight tolerability when it comes to BMD (bone mineral density) and kidney function.

Truvada is a popular drug for both HIV treatment and for PrEP. Descovy is a new pro-drug of Truvada that’s also used to treat HIV. Recently, Descovy was approved by the FDA to be used as a PrEP drug. Descovy is the best choice for people with bone and kidney issues.

Truvada was the very first drug approved for PrEP. With its high profile for its successful performance in helping millions of people at high risk of acquiring the virus, it has gained popularity and become one of the first choice drug recommended for HIV prevention.

Before being approved for PrEP, Truvada – with its active ingredients (TDF/FTC) – was approved for HIV-1 treatment in combination with other ARV drugs. It’s a drug with high efficacy and tolerability in suppressing viral load and giving yourself a better immune system to fight opportunistic viruses.

Truvada is also approved for treating hepatitis B – another impressive milestone in performance for this treatment. Although it may be accompanied by some severe health conditions in some individuals, it’s a drug that has existed with a higher positive profile in saving millions of lives, both as a treatment and prevention medicine.

Descovy is a new drug that recently entered the ranks alongside Truvada as a treatment for HIV-1. It’s a pro-drug of Truvada with an improved version of tenofovir. Descovy contains tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) or tenofovir AF– a highly tolerable drug that works well with the kidney and bones with fewer side effects.

Descovy is approved as a medication for treating HIV. It works as a combination drug used together with another third ARV drug to effectively manage or fight the HIV virus in the body.

Since it’s a drug that contains emtricitabine and TAF – two drugs used in Truvada (emtricitabine/tenofovir), it can also be used as PrEP. From studies, Descovy has shown high performance in preventing HIV infection as Truvada. In fact, it’s a non-inferior drug that’s favorable to health conditions such as kidney issues and BMD (bone mineral density).

Truvada and Descovy belong to a drug class known as NRTIs, which inhibit and block the virus enzyme called reverse transcriptase. By blocking the action of reverse transcriptase, both drugs in combination with another ARV work together to prevent HIV from multiplying in the body. Both drugs are highly effective in reducing the amount of HIV in the T-cells (white blood cells).

Both drugs have the same mode of action. The only advantage of Descovy as a pro-drug of tenofovir is that it has lower drug levels (especially tenofovir) in the blood and less exposure to the kidneys, bones, and other sensitive organs.

Truvada is an NRTIs drug designed to intercept and inhibit or block the HIV virus enzyme called reverse transcriptase. This enzyme actively infects the DNA and uses it to make copies of the virus. Once these cells are infected, the body’s immune function becomes weaker as the viral load count increases.

Truvada, combined with another ARV medicine, work together to prevent the virus from increasing or replicating in the CD4 cells. The more a patient uses Truvada, the more its concentration in the body increases and becomes highly effective in reducing the amount of HIV in the T-cells (white blood cells).

As PrEP, Truvada intercepts the virus before it enters into the body. PrEP is an effective strategy where the active substances in Truvada stay alert to kill the virus in its early stages before it inhibits the cell DNA causing AIDS.

Descovy works the same way as Truvada. It is a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor which actively undergoes intracellular metabolism where tenofovir alafenamide is first hydrolyzed to tenofovir-alanine, and converted into parent tenofovir.

The action of tenofovir (tenofovir diphosphate) as it enters the body is to inhibit the activity of virus reverse transcriptase, causing viral DNA chain termination. Once the virus’ active action is terminated, there is no more replication of the virus and the CD4 cell count begins to increase in number, restoring the body’s immune function.

Note that Descovy doesn’t cure HIV. It reduces its viral count in the T-cells and the more you consistently use this medication, the more the viral load count decreases.

It’s estimated that it takes at least seven days for PrEP to reach high levels of protection in the body. It is very important to not miss a dose when on PrEP to achieve the best results.

If you miss a dose, don’t panic. Take the pill as soon as you remember, unless it is already almost time to take the next dose (in that case, do not take a double dose). Contact your provider if you notice that you are missing doses on a regular basis (and especially if you miss more than 1 or 2 doses a week regularly).

Do not stop taking Truvada or Descovy without first talking to your doctor. They will need to monitor your health.

Both drugs have a positive side and a negative side. Choosing the right drug is based on drug tolerability and effectiveness.

Descovy, as a prodrug of tenofovir, is a much-tolerated drug, especially for patients with bone or kidney problems. This drug also proves to be non-inferior to Truvada in various performances.

Truvada, on the other hand, is highly effective and tolerable, especially for an individual with good health. As PrEP, Truvada has had an excellent profile in prevention against virus acquisition. Descovy has recently been be approved for PrEP and it has already shown greater improvement with its TAF drug composition, unlike TDF in Truvada. It is the best alternative to Truvada when it comes to tolerability based on the patient’s health condition.

Some people get side effects when taking Truvada or Descovy for PrEP. Symptoms are usually mild (such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or headache) and go away after the first month on PrEP.

PrEP does not interact with most other medications. Do not take Truvada or Descovy with certain anticonvulsants (including carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, phenobarbital, and phenytoin), Norvir, rifabutin, rifampin, rifapentine, or St. John’s wort. NSAIDs including ibuprofen and naproxen should be avoided. You can ask a pharmacist to check for drug interactions.

No. In a study, PrEP medications did not impact the participants’ lean body mass.

HIV drug PrEP is not linked to greater risk for depression. A a randomized, placebo-controlled trial reported no link between taking Truvada for PrEP and experiencing depression.

Drinking alcohol while taking Truvada or Descovy may increase your risk of some side effects, such as: nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Call us at the pharmacy and we’ll be glad to answer any questions. You can reach us at (800) 877-0337.

More FAQs. Find answers to commonly asked questions at Pharmacy FAQs.

Truvada Versus Descovy: Comparison Chart

Brand Name (Active Ingredient) Truvada (emtricitabine/tenofovir) Desvovy (emtricitabine/tenofovir AF)
Manufacturer Gilead Sciences Gilead Sciences
Success Rate Up to 99% as PrEP;
70%+ for those who inject drugs
Up to 99% as PrEP
Drug Class NRTIs (antiviral combinations) NRTIs (antiviral combinations)
Approved by the U.S. FDA For treating HIV / AIDS – August 2, 2004 as a combination with another ARV med;
On July 16, 2012 – approved as PrEP and used alongside other safer sex methods.
Approved on April 4, 2016 for HIV treatment as a combination treatment with another ARV drug;
On October 3, 2019 – approved as PrEP and used alongside other safer sex methods.
Prescribed For HIV / AIDS treatment;
Hepatitis B treatment;
Used alone as PrEP to prevent HIV-1 infection.
HIV / AIDS treatment;
Used alone as PrEP to prevent HIV-1 infection.
Effectiveness Provides up to 92% – 99% as PrEP reduction in HIV risk if taken as instructed by the medical specialist;
It’s highly effective and tolerable.
Descovy as a pro-drug of Truvada is well-tolerated, safe, and effective, especially in patients with liver, kidney, or BMD (bone mineral density) problems. Descovy is non-inferior in effectiveness to Truvada as PrEP and as HIV / AIDS treatment.
Dosage forms Oral tablet Oral tablet
What does it look like? Truvada-Tab Descovy-Tab
Directions on use Take one tablet by mouth once a day with or without food at the same time without missing a dose.
For PrEP, use other safer sex actions like a condom for higher protection.
Never stop the medication without getting a doctor’s approval.
Take one tablet by mouth once a day with or without food at the same time without missing a dose.
For PrEP, use other safer sex actions like a condom for higher protection.
Never stop the medication without getting a doctor’s approval.
Half-life 25.7 hours Emtricitabine – half-life: 10 hours;
Tenofovir – 0.51 hours
Available Generics None None
Drug Interactions Didanosine meds may cause liver toxicity; medications affecting renal function; lopinavir/ritonavir and other HIV-1 protease inhibitors; HBV antiretroviral; hepatitis C antiviral agents, P-gp and BCRP inhibitors.
Confirm with your doctor or pharmacist for all possible interactions.
Other HIV meds or products that contain emtricitabine or tenofovir AF; anticonvulsants; male erectile dysfunction meds; antiretroviral agents or protease inhibitors; antimycobacterial; adefovir, orlistat; herbal remedies; drugs that may harm the kidneys.
Confirm with your doctor or pharmacist for all possible interactions.
Possible Adverse Reactions Drug resistance while using as PrEP; a severe onset of HBV; renal impairment; bone reduction; problems on immune reconstruction syndrome; lactic acidosis. Nausea; acute renal failure; lactic acidosis or enlarged fatty liver; immune reconstruction syndrome; kidney damage.
PROs Highly recommended for treating HIV / AIDS.
Has been used effectively for many years as PrEP for preventing HIV-1 infection.
Once daily tablet that is taken with or without a meal.
Fewer side effects and less toxic to the kidneys and bones.
Decrease drug exposure in the body due to better cellular penetration from TAF.
Highly effective and tolerable (non-inferior to Truvada) for both PrEP and HIV treatment.
Once daily tablet that is taken with or without a meal.
CONs A patient must continue to use other safer sex methods for higher protection if used as PrEP.
It won’t protect against STDs.
As PrEP, a ptient should have to adhere to a 12 week mandatory HIV test.
Not tolerated in patients with poor kidney function.
It may contribute to bone loss.
It may worsen or cause the onset of Hepatitis B problems if a patient stops using TDF/FTC.
Descovy can interact with several other drugs.
Hepatitis B may get worse if you suddenly stop taking Descovy.
It may contribute to immune reconstitution syndrome.
Severe hepatomegaly.

If you compare one drug against another, chances are that you will prefer a drug that has high tolerability for your health. Your doctor should access your health and recommend the best drug for either PrEP or HIV treatment for you.

Karen T.
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"They truly care, I tell everyone to go here. I've been with them since 2008."
Yolanda P.
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"Always helpful to save money on medication and very kind."
Michael A.
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"Helpful and knowledgeable. Can't ask for better service, thank you!"
Patti E.
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"The staff at Drug Mart are exceptionally helpful. The quality of their products are top notch. I recommend Drug Mart to everyone. Am with them for life!!"
Darryl F.
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"This is the best pharmacy I have ever been to. They are caring, helpful and treat you with respect."
Anita H.
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"My daughter was able to get emergency medication after hours within half hour of making the phone call to the 800#. I can't recommend Drug Mart more highly."
Robert T.
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"I've been going here for years since my doctor recommended this pharmacy. They're busier now then when I first started but their service is still top notch. Thanks again for all your help!"
David D.
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"They are most accommodating, courteous, friendly and professional pharmacist I've ever dealt with. I'm so grateful to call this pharmacy my own."
Tonia B.
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"Always very caring when asking a question about your medication they know what they're talking about and they are very knowledgeable I've been going to them for oh my goodness since they opened up wow where did time go anyway my drug store for life thank you!"
Josh P.
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"This pharmacy is one of the best. Pharmacist has lots of knowledge and staff takes time to explain in detail. They do other half of what doctors should do. Also, no waiting like big name pharmacy. I highly recommend this pharmacy. They also deliver and ship to anywhere in USA."
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Drug Mart Pharmacy
5.0
Based on 163 reviews
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Chanice Dorsey
Chanice Dorsey
02:45 12 Mar 20
The staff at Drug Mart are truly an extension of my family. Vik offered me one of the greatest opportunities while in... nursing school, as a graduate, and as a working professional. He continues to encourage young adults to pursue their dreams and provides them with opportunities to be impactful within the community. You can’t get any better than this.read more
langston hannah
langston hannah
12:02 07 Mar 20
I am very pleased with the service that I receive from the pharmacy. The people who serve you are very helpful and... friendly and assist you in any way that they can. The pharmacist are well informed with your prescription needs, if there's a problem with anything you need they will do their best to resolve any issue you have. I recommend everyone to check them out and get their prescriptions filled at Drug Mart. I will always be a customer of Drug Mart because they are so good at what they do.read more
Yolanda Mesa
Yolanda Mesa
15:11 05 Mar 20
The best pharmacy I ever went. Staff is very polite and friendly. Very fast and they also deliver. One time I totally... forget about a medication and they went to my house.read more
tracey evans
tracey evans
16:32 03 Mar 20
Drug Mart is my family, I’ve been with them since day 1. I moved away for a few years to another state, I’ve been... back i NJ. a little over 5 years and I’m still a happy customer. They’re very friendly, knowledgeable and very helpful and understanding, prices are better then most..read more
Cassandra Hemby
Cassandra Hemby
21:33 28 Feb 20
I so appreciate the dear people @Drug Mart! I am recovering from cancer and one day while in Chemotherapy I was told I... would need a certain cream right away, but I wouldn't be able to pick it up that day.however there is this very courteous and sweet young lady named Michele that assured me it would be delivered to me in at my daughter's home in Woodbridge, NJ, because that is where I go after having treatment.The kind of caring and compassion received there have made the staff endearing to me and has restored my faith in customer service again.read more
Denise Eady
Denise Eady
20:38 24 Feb 20
I love this place. Best pharmacy around!!!. I have been using this pharmacy since it opened. Whenever I walk in,... everyone is very cordial and always pleasant and with a smile, and they always greet me by nmy name. Vic and the other Pharmacists are very knowledgeable, and the staff takes the time to explain any new medications in detail. If you are not able to pick up your prescriptions, they do HOME delivery which is great. I transferred from Walgreens pharmacy and I am so glad I did!!!read more
Jay Bhatt
Jay Bhatt
21:05 22 Feb 20
The quality of service provided by the pharmacist and the staff is excellent! I wouldn't go to any other pharmacy. They... truly care.read more
Cindy Hall
Cindy Hall
15:21 20 Feb 20
I never have to wait. This is the best pharmacy I ever went to. I highly recommend them to everyone!
Maisha Bryant
Maisha Bryant
00:32 20 Feb 20
I have known Vik and his family since they opened. They have bright back what it means to have a home town family... operated pharmacy. He remembers you, that you have had a baby etc. He is compassionate and always goes above and beyond. He trains his staff to pursue their own dreams. Some have gone on to school. My prayer is that God gives him a long healthy life and that his business continues to prosper. Oh and BTW if you move he does mail order so he can continue to be your pharmacist no need to switch!read more
Sharel E. Gordon-Love
Sharel E. Gordon-Love
19:46 19 Feb 20
My family has been with Drug Mart since they first open and we’ve received top notch service every single time. Vic... and the staff are very friendly, and we are greeted with a smileread more
Tammy Nichols
Tammy Nichols
23:23 18 Feb 20
I used to get my prescriptions at Cvs. But when Drug Mart open close to my house i figured I give then a try and have... not looked back. The staff is always kind, helpful, and considerate. LOVE THIS PLACE.❤read more
Yolanda Parker
Yolanda Parker
20:50 17 Feb 20
I enjoyed the customer service I experience when I go into this store the friendly atmosphere the warm welcome you get... upon entering and exitingread more
Mike Webb
Mike Webb
16:48 06 Feb 20
Great being able to pick up my meds at this pharmacy. They are the best!
Janet Bynum
Janet Bynum
18:21 28 Jan 20
Leaving his experience I had with Drug Mart it's coming there getting my medication and then delivering it to me very... happy who had Drug Mart in my life far as my medications is concerned I don't have to call for refills they deliver them to me I've been the drug mart play my medications concern about 7 years or more appreciate the people they appreciate me I'm happy with Drug Mart this is my the best pharmacist that I know thank youread more
james hunter
james hunter
21:25 24 Jan 20
Always ready to help! Any way possible thank you for all your years of service!
Michelle Reyes
Michelle Reyes
21:03 24 Jan 20
Awesome staff always willing to help out 🙂
cindy ortega
cindy ortega
20:41 24 Jan 20
I love this pharmacy. Everyone makes you feel like your family. Any issues with prescription they try to resolve it... asap. I recommend this pharmacy to everyone.read more
jacqueline wells
jacqueline wells
19:33 31 Dec 19
Drug mart has the most pleasant employees and the service is swift I can't say enough good things about this pharmacy... Thanks for your years of dedication and service in our communityread more
Chris Hanington
Chris Hanington
13:47 18 Jul 19
These people take great care of THEIR people. Impressive!
R Turner
R Turner
21:57 01 Jun 19
I've been going here for years since my doctor recommended this pharmacy. They're busier now then when I first started... but their service is still top notch. Thanks again for all your help!read more
John Aleksandrowicz
John Aleksandrowicz
22:21 14 Apr 19
Great pharmacy with great customer service. Vik is great. He obviously cares about people and understands the needs of... each. Thank you!read more
Karen T
Karen T
18:54 06 Jan 19
This pharmacy is the best! I left Walgreens and very glad I did. They take the time to explain my medicines and know me... by name. I recommended them to all my family and friends.read more
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