PEP is an emergency course of medication started within 72 hours after exposure to HIV in order to prevent HIV infection
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What is PEP?
PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) is where you take an HIV medication after an incident to prevent getting HIV. It's an effective solution if you are using condoms, but have an instance where you had a slip-up for whatever reason (maybe the condom broke), and are concerned about your vulnerability.
PEP Must Be Started Within 72 Hours of Possible Exposure to HIV
DON'T DELAY! Every hour counts after exposure, so the sooner you start PEP the more effective it is!

Talk right away (within 72 hours) to your health care provider, an emergency room doctor, or an urgent care provider about PEP if you think you’ve recently been exposed to HIV:
  • during sex (for example, if the condom broke),
  • through sharing needles, syringes, or other equipment to inject drugs (for example, cookers), or
  • if you’ve been sexually assaulted.
If you’re prescribed PEP, you’ll need to take it daily for 28 days.
What if I can't access an emergency room or doctor quickly?
PEP often utilises the same medication people take daily for Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Every hour counts after exposure, so if for any reason you are not able to visit an ER or GP straight away, but know someone that is taking PrEP, borrow some pills, take 2 straight away, followed by one each day until you are able to access a doctor for medical assistance.

Please be aware, this is a last resort in an emergency situation! Your first course of action should always be to seek medical assistance straight away.
PEP is for Emergency Situations
  • PEP is given after a possible exposure to HIV.
  • PEP is not a substitute for regular use of other HIV prevention such at PrEP.
  • PEP is not the right choice for people who may be exposed to HIV frequently.
  • If you are at ongoing risk for HIV, such as through repeated exposures to HIV, talk to your health care provider about PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis).
How well does PEP work?
If taken within 72 hours after possible exposure, PEP is highly effective in preventing HIV. But to be safe, you should take other actions to protect your partners while you are taking PEP. This includes always using condoms with sexual partners in not using PrEP and not sharing needles, syringes, or other equipment to inject drugs.
Are there any side effects?
  • PEP is safe but may cause side effects like nausea in some people.
  • In almost all cases, these side effects can be treated and aren’t life-threatening.
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