PrEP Pills Versus PrEP Injectables: Which Option Is Better For You?

PrEP Pills Versus PrEP Injectables

Methods to prevent HIV (like PrEP pills) have come a long way in the last two decades — antiviral drugs under the banner of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) have become proven systems that help prevent HIV/AIDS among at-risk groups.

PrEP By the Numbers

In 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) studies show that about 25% of the 1.2 million people for whom PrEP medication is recommended were prescribed it. This is a huge leap compared to only about 3% in 2015. Between 2015 and 2019, the CDC also recorded an 8% decrease in new HIV infections.

For an incurable disease that is highly infectious and dangerous, this increase in prevention and fall in infection are significant strides forward.

PrEP is a medication that’s used to prevent HIV in people who are at a high risk of contracting the virus. It involves taking a daily pill that contains a combination of drugs. When taken consistently, this medication is highly effective against HIV, reducing the risk of infection from sexual contact by up to 99% and through drug use by 74%.

For at-risk individuals, this is life-changing.

But there’s still an important decision to be made once you’ve decided to take this step. When it comes to protecting yourself from HIV, there are two primary options available: PrEP pills and PrEP injectables.

So, which one is better for you?

Here’s everything you need to know.

What are PrEP Pills?

Oral PrEP pills are the most common type of HIV medication and must be taken once a day, every day. They combine two antiretroviral drugs: tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine. Together, they prevent the virus from establishing an infection in the body and are highly effective when taken correctly.

PrEP pills require no special administration or preparation, so they are the most convenient options for protecting against HIV. These pills are widely available in many countries worldwide, and their accessibility is constantly increasing.

While PrEP pill cost varies depending on location and insurance coverage, in most circumstances, it is a very cost-effective method of protection. When compared to the lifetime cost of treating HIV, pills are undoubtedly more affordable.

Some PrEP side effects of the pill include diarrhea, nausea, headache, fatigue, and stomach pain. However, these side effects pass with time. Moreover, there is a clear consensus among medical experts and researchers that this medication is entirely safe and effective.

What are PrEP Injectables?

By the end of 2021, a new form of PrEP medication was introduced into the market.

The FDA-approved Apretude (cabotegravir) was released as the first and only long-acting injectable PrEP medication. It is another effective protection method and provides an even more hassle-free way to take the needed medication.

Compared to the pills, which must be taken daily, medical experts say that this injectable HIV prevention drug can be dispensed as few as six times per year and is extremely effective in combating infection. This is a massive benefit for people who have trouble swallowing pills or simply prefer a discreet form of prevention.

Recent UCLA-led research has shown that long-lasting injectable PrEP was far superior to daily oral antiretroviral therapy in preventing HIV infection among men who had sex with other men or transgender women.

These injections come with the same side effect warnings as the oral form of the medication. Some patients have also complained about pain and redness on the injection site.

How to Choose Between PrEP Pills and PrEP Injectables

While both forms of medication have shown exceptional results, there are certain factors to consider when choosing between PrEP pills and injections. Most of these involve individual preferences and circumstances and have nothing to do with the medication itself.

Some of the factors to weigh include:


PrEP pills must be taken once a day, every day; meanwhile, PrEP injections are given every two months.

If you prefer not to worry about taking medication daily, injectable PrEP might be right for you. At the same time, an injection requires the assistance of a medical professional, while you can take the pills from the comfort of your home or wherever you are.


PrEP pills are generally more cost-effective than injectable PrEP. Because the pills must be taken daily, the expenses balance out. Additionally, the pills are covered by most insurance plans.

Injectables are relatively new, so only a few providers have begun integrating them into their plans.


As established, PrEP pills must be taken every single day at the correct time. If you are forgetful or have a hectic schedule, the injection might be better for you.

If you’re afraid of needles or will have trouble visiting a medical professional every couple of months, the pills are a better option.

Side Effects

The side effects of taking PrEP pills include brief periods of headaches or nausea, while the injection may cause some swelling and redness at the point of entry.

None of the side effects are too severe, but this could be another point to consider when deciding what form of PrEP is suitable for you.

Medical History

In some cases, your medical history can also influence your choice between PrEP pills and injections. If you have a history of liver problems, kidney problems, or other chronic health concerns, contact your doctor, and they might recommend one form of PrEP over the other.

Your healthcare provider will give you a thorough breakdown of your options and what is best for you.

The Wrap-Up

There’s no doubt that PrEP pills and injectables are effective options for protecting oneself against HIV. The choice of which to pick depends entirely on circumstance and individual preference. It’s best to speak to a healthcare provider about which option suits your medical history and lifestyle.

For answers to any further questions related to PrEP or figuring out how to find and begin a PrEP medication course, look no further than PrEP Daily. Its team of immensely knowledgeable experts is ready to help.