HIV MedicationsDescovy

Descovy for HIV Treatment and Prevention: Everything You Need to Know

illustration of larger-than-life Descovy bottle alongside a person holding a massive Descovy pill
Lily Fulop

    Frequently Asked QuestionsDescovy

    What is Descovy used for?

    Descovy is used for both the treatment of HIV (in combination with one or more other drugs) and also for the prevention of HIV in people who are HIV negative. For HIV prevention, Descovy is a part of a strategy called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, for short.

    What are the drugs in Descovy?

    It’s a pill made of two HIV-fighting drugs, emtricitabine (FTC) and tenofovir alafenamide (TAF).

    How often is Descovy taken?

    Descovy is normally taken by mouth once a day, with no food or timing restrictions, but please ask your health care provider about dosing, whether for HIV treatment or for PrEP.

    Does Descovy have any side effects I should worry about?

    It rarely causes side effects, and studies have shown it to be safer on markers of kidney and bone health than Truvada. However, concerns for weight gain and higher cholesterol levels have been noted. You should tell your medical provider if you develop any side effects.

    Can Descovy be used for any other conditions besides HIV treatment or prevention?

    Descovy, like Truvada, can be a good fit for people who have hepatitis B. Check with your physician to make sure you have been vaccinated or tested for hepatitis B before you stop or start taking Descovy.

    Descovy HIV
    Ray, Adrian S., et al. “Tenofovir Alafenamide: A Novel Prodrug of Tenofovir for the Treatment of Human Immunodeficiency Virus.” Antiviral Research, Elsevier, 27 Nov. 2015,
    David Malebranche, M.D., M.P.H.

    David Malebranche, M.D., M.P.H.

    David Malebranche, M.D., M.P.H., is a black same-gender-loving educator, author, activist, and internal medicine physician. He co-hosts the YouTube series 'Revolutionary Health' as part of The Counter Narrative Project and also appears on the #AskTheHIVDoc video series.