What is PEP?
Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is a four-week course of medication that you can take if you think you may have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours. This may happen if you don’t use a condom or if it breaks or slips off during sex.
How does PEP work?
PEP can help stop HIV from entering into the body by creating a barrier inside you. For this to happen, PEP needs to be taken with 72 hours after you have been exposed to HIV, but the sooner the better.
Does PEP have any side effects?
Taking PEP can sometimes cause side-effects, however these vary from person to person. Side effects can range from and include: diarrhoea; tiredness; vomiting; and, migraine-like headaches. Some people don’t experience any symptoms at all. Some of these side effects can be treated with other medications to reduce their effect on your body, but it is important to continue taking the PEP treatment drugs for all 28 days
How do I use it?
You use PEP by taking a pill each day for 28 days. You cannot skip a dose and you need to make sure you take all of them so that you can give yourself the best protection against HIV.
PEP and other STIs
Remember, PEP only provides you with protection against HIV, it does not protect you against other STIs so it is important to get tested regularly for STIs and consider keeping condoms in the mix. If you are not a fan of condoms there are other methods of protection like PrEP.