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Post-exposure prophylaxis
(or PEP)

is a way to prevent HIV infection after a possible recent exposure. It involves taking HIV medications as soon as possible (within 3 days) after a single high-risk event to stop HIV from making copies of itself and spreading throughout your body. Below, we share important information about PEP from CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):

PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) means taking antiretroviral medicines (ART) after being potentially exposed to HIV to prevent becoming infected.

PEP should be used only in emergency situations and must be started within 72 hours after a recent possible exposure to HIV. If you think you’ve recently been exposed to HIV during sex or through sharing needles and works to prepare drugs or if you’ve been sexually assaulted,
 

Talk to the doctor about PEP right away.

WHAT IS PEP?

PEP stands for post-exposure prophylaxis. It means taking antiretroviral medicines (ART) after being potentially exposed to HIV to prevent becoming infected.
PEP must be started within 72 hours after a recent possible exposure to HIV, but the sooner you start PEP, the better. Every hour counts. If you’re prescribed PEP, you’ll need to take it once or twice daily for 28 days. PEP is effective in preventing HIV when administered correctly, but not 100%.

 

IS PEP RIGHT FOR ME?

If you’re HIV-negative or don’t know your HIV status, and in the last 72 hours you
1) Think you may have been exposed to HIV during sex (for example, if the condom broke),
2) Shared needles and works to prepare drugs (for example, cotton, cookers, water), or
3) Were sexually assaulted,

 

Talk to the doctor about PEP right away.

PEP should be used only in emergency situations and must be started within 72 hours after a recent possible exposure to HIV. It is not a substitute for regular use of other proven HIV prevention methods, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which means taking HIV medicines daily to lower your chance of getting infected; using condoms the right way every time you have sex; and using only your own new, sterile needles and works every time you inject.

PEP is effective, but not 100%, so you should continue to use condoms with sex partners and safe injection practices while taking PEP. These strategies can protect you from being exposed to HIV again and reduce the chances of transmitting HIV to others if you do become infected while you’re on PEP.

 

WHEN SHOULD I TAKE PEP?

PEP must be started within 72 hours after a possible exposure. The sooner you start PEP, the better; every hour counts.
Starting PEP as soon as possible after a potential HIV exposure is important. Research has shown that PEP has little or no effect in preventing HIV infection if it is started later than 72 hours after HIV exposure. If you’re prescribed PEP, you’ll need to take it once or twice daily for 28 days.

DOES PEP HAVE ANY SIDE EFFECTS?

PEP is safe but may cause side effects like nausea in some people. These side effects can be treated and aren’t life-threatening.