What Happens If You Stop Taking Truvada?

Is it safe to stop using Truvada? Does this entail an increased risk of HIV infection? Will the efficacy of repeat PrEP treatment decrease after withdrawing Truvada? The answers to these and other questions are presented in the article.

Truvada is an effective drug often used to prevent HIV infection of people who are in contact with or belong to a risk group. It is also used in the complex treatment of HIV in order to prevent its transition to AIDS. Truvada and similar medications affect the immune system, so you need to take them for a long time and constantly, and stop of medication can cause serious deterioration of health condition [1]. Still, there may be cases when the withdrawal is necessary, what to do in such situations? What happens if you stop taking Truvada? Let’s find out about this in detail.

💊Main Reasons Why People Quit Taking Truvada

People most often stop taking potent drugs because of side effects, lack of the desired effect, or because there is no need in them anymore. Truvada isn’t an exception. It has a fairly extensive list of side effects which are well-tolerated, but sometimes, for example, problems with sleep or serious kidney malfunctions can turn a person’s life into a nightmare. Most often, people who take this drug report about bloating, diarrhea, nausea, and dizziness. With prolonged use, where may develop diseases of internal organs, in particular of kidneys and liver. If health began to deteriorate rapidly, it would be advisable to stop the medication.

It often happens that a person who doesn’t have HIV ends a relationship with his partner who is infected by this disease. In such a situation, it makes no sense to take the medicine further. This also applies to gay or bisexual men who have found their regular partner and refuse to have casual relationships.

Surveys have shown that there are also people who refuse to have unprotected sex due to the risk of getting STD because PrEP medicine is able to protect them only from being infected with HIV. With constant use of the condom and wise choice of a partner, the need for Truvada also decreases.

The high price of the original drug is also an often reason for not taking Truvada. Not every insurance covers the cost of this drug, and also not everyone is ready to pay for an extended version of insurance [2].

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👨🏻‍⚕️What Should You Expect?

If you weren’t going to withdraw the drug, but just forgot about taking it, then this won’t affect your health and the effectiveness of the drug. Just use a pill as soon as you remember about this and continue daily intake.

Without daily use, the level of protection becomes significantly reduced. So, with daily intake, reliability is 99%, with two tablets per week – only 76%. In case you don’t have HIV, then if you stop using Truvada, you won’t be more vulnerable to HIV then before [3].

If a person already has HIV, then he needs to remember that the stop of Truvada will lead to increased resistance of the virus to the drug. In this case, Truvada can’t be used again for a long time, since it won’t be effective.

🚫Stopping Truvada Safely

If you decide not to take Truvada, be sure to tell your doctor about this. If you had unprotected sexual intercourse a month after that, you must go to doctor and use PEP drugs he will prescribe to you. Then make an HIV test. If the result of the analysis is negative, then you can safely continue use of Truvada if necessary.

After you decided to resume using this drug daily for some reason, then first make an HIV test and be sure that you don’t have it. Otherwise, you can no longer use this medicine, because it won’t be appropriate for you.

Truvada is an effective and reliable drug, but the high price is its huge disadvantage. A lot of people would like to use it, but they can’t afford this, and someone just doesn’t want to spend extra money. Don’t risk your health by refusing Truvada, since Indian generics are a good and profitable meds. They have same high-quality as the original, but cost much less. Their composition and properties are similar to the branded Truvada, so you can safely switch from an expensive American drug to a cheaper Indian alternative medication.

We hope that our HIVPrEP website has provided you with all the necessary information and helped in making a decision.


  1. Intermittent Prophylaxis with Oral Truvada Protects Macaques from Rectal SHIV Infection. J. G. García-Lerma, M. Cong, J. Mitchell, A. S. Youngpairoj, Q. Zheng, S. Masciotra, A. Martin, Z. Kuklenyik, A. Holder, J. Lipscomb, C.-P. Pau, J. R. Barr, D. L. Hanson, R. Otten, L. Paxton, T. M. Folks, W. Heneine. Sci. Transl. Med. 2, 2010.
  2. Why I Quit Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)? A Mixed-Method Study Exploring Reasons for PrEP Discontinuation and Potential Re-initiation Among Gay and Bisexual Men. Whitfield, T.H.F., John, S.A., Rendina, H.J. et al. AIDS Behav (2018) 22: 3566.
  3. HIV Protective Efficacy and Correlates of Tenofovir Blood Concentrations in a Clinical Trial of PrEP for HIV Prevention. JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. 66(3):340–348. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
Logan Morris

Expert in pharmaceutical practice and antiviral medicine, founder of HIVPrEP. Main goal is to popularize HIV topics and create awareness for global masses on how to prevent the disease and how to use HIV medication safely.

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