Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)
PEP is medication you can take to reduce your risk of HIV infection if you have come into contact with the virus. It is best to start PEP immediately after contact with HIV, ideally within 24 hours and at most within 72 hours. If you want PEP, act now.
PEP includes 2-3 medications taken daily for a total of 28 days. These medications have very few side effects, which can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches and/or and fatigue. These side effects are rare.
Potential exposures that may warrant PEP include:
- Receptive and penetrative anal sex without condoms
- Sharing needles and or equipment for drug use
PEP can prevent HIV seroconversion by up to 80%. Taking medications for less than 28 days, missing doses, or stopping treatment early will reduce the effectiveness of PEP. For PEP to work, it has to be started as soon as possible after a potential exposure to HIV and taken continuously for 28 days. PEP is not given if the exposure occurred more than 72 hours (3 days) ago.
People seeking PEP may present to:
- Gay Zone (Thursday, 5-8pm)
- Sexual Health Clinic (Monday – Friday, 9am-4pm)
- Any local Emergency Department for assessment
Before starting PEP, you will be assessed by a healthcare provider, who will determine if PEP is needed.