Q and A


Is PEP working if I don’t have side effects?

Hello, I am on PEP, got it within 37 hours after possible exposure, and today is my 15th day. I don’t have any side effects as they say, apart from feeling sleepy most of my day times. I wanted to know If PEP is working since I don’t have the side effects they talk about.


Hi, how are you?

Yes. PEP is still working. As long as you are taking it every day it will be effective.

As with all medication, you do not need to experience side effects for the medication to work. Only some people will experience these side effects. It is a good thing that you are not.



  1. Josh Peasegood

    Hi Vivian, please see here for more information about transmission: https://i-base.info/qa/factsheets/hiv-transmission-and-testing

  2. Vivian

    Hi i had sex with a sex worker with condom, but i fingered her and i masterbated with the same hand, my penis was very dry, i used the same hand to lubricate with spit my penis, in the morning i saw my penis head had a little cut and i am worried if i could have gotten hiv. Please help. I was so drunk but i think my hand had dried before i touched my penis. After masterbation i washed my penis with soap. But the most i am worried about if i might have accidently touched my cut with my hand.

  3. Josh Peasegood

    Hi Kelvin, yes PEP will work even if someone has a high viral load. Please see here for more information: https://i-base.info/qa/factsheets/pep-faq

  4. Kelvin

    Hi Josh can PEP really work when you are exposed to someone who has high viral load, the person i got exposed to she wasn’t aware that she was positive not until i tested her and she was found positive both on determine and the SD am afraid she might have a very high viral load

  5. Simon Collins

    Hi Ondslay, this doesn’t sound like a high risk for HIV. This is because the sex was so short and you used a condom. Anything in the condom would have come from you – ie your precum – and this this isn’t relevant to transmission. The doctor who prescribed the PEP should have had this discussion with you. Please see this link for more info:

  6. Ondslay

    I have a possible exposure i am not sure whether my condom got broke. I just did 20 seconds and got feared. She was a commercial worker. I saw a fluid inside the condom. Whether it is my ejaculation or vaginal fluid? So i got feared and went to doctor and took pep at 67th hour of my exposure. Should I continue with it or I don’t want it? Do I feel condom if the condom is broken? Because i didn’t feel anything broken, and can pre ejaculation happen within 20 seconds?

  7. Josh Peasegood

    Hi Thesilly J, as you are taking a split dose and Truvada can cover for being a few hours late with your second dose of Isentress, this will not impact the effectiveness of PEP. Have you now started taking the morning Isentress at 05:30? If this does not work it is safe to move both doses to a more suitable time e.g., 8am and 8pm. Shifting the dose by a few hours will not effect how well it works.

    What time were you taking your supplements? These supplements can sometimes reduce how much PEP is absorbed. It is advised to either take the supplement 6 hours before or 2 hours after the HIV treatment. Outside of this time limit there is no interaction. Your split dose will help protect how effective PEP is for the few days you took these supplements.

    Testing the day you finish PEP will not be accurate. PEP would suppress HIV and prevent an accurate result. This is why 6 weeks is needed to wait after finishing PEP. This allows the body to have a response to any HIV that is in the body. The earliest you can test for a conclusive result is 6 weeks using a 4th generation test.

  8. ThesillyJ

    Hi, i have exposure to HIV with an unknown status lady at 9/11/22 4pm. Roughly 24 hours later, i went to clinic and the doctor prescribed me PEP with combination of Truvada and Isentress (400mg twice daily).

    I have been told to take the medicine (truvada and isentress 1 pill) immediately which is about 5.30pm on the 10/11/22, then continue to take them at the next day morning.

    But i didnt take them at 5.30am in the morning, instead i taking them at around 8.30am to 9am with truvada and 1 pill of isentress. Because i didnt know that have to take it strictly 12 hours later. Am i considered late or missed doses?

    Almost every day i take 1 pill of truvada and 1 pill of isentress in the morning around 8am to 9am. And another pill of isentress in the evening time around 8am, sometimes 7.30pm onwards or 8.30pm there. Will this affect the effectiveness of the PEP?

    Another things is that I accidentally take Greenlife iron supplements which is (iron chelate with ferrochel) and also Redoxon (Vitamin C with zinc), will it affect the absorption rate of isentress? I took it at 24/11 until 27/11 at morning session. After i read the post state that zinc and iron will interact with Isentress then i stop taking it until now.

    I have this question in my mind for many days, trying to search for an answer, but i cant get it, please help me.

    And my doctor suggested i can have my HIV testing after i finished my course which is on 12/2/22. I know that it must be test after 6 week of PEP. May i know the testing on 12/2 , what accurate will it be?

    Appreciate for the help


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