Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is a short course (28 day
course) of anti-HIV medication that can be offered to an HIV
negative person in the event that they are exposed to the HIV
virus, for example during sex.
A medical professional needs to make an assessment and based on
a set of very strict criteria will decide if PEP should be
prescribed or not.
The most common reasons for giving PEP fall into two broad
- Sexual Exposure - when a person has unprotected sex with
someone who is known to be HIV positive, or where there is a very
high chance that they are positive.
- Occupational Exposure - when someone in a work place (nurses,
doctors, police etc) receive a needle stick or similar injury
involving body fluids that contain HIV.
If you think that you have been exposed to HIV during sex you
must act quickly to access PEP, preferably immediately but
certainly, within 72 hours. The sooner PEP is started the
more effective it is likely to be.
Where to get help and advice
PEP is not a cure for HIV and is not guaranteed to
prevent HIV from taking hold once the virus has entered the body.
Condoms and water based lubricant for sex remain the most efficient
way of staying safe from HIV.
Useful information around exposure to BBVs can be found at the
related information link on the right hand side.