What is PEP? (Post Exposure Prophylaxis)
I recently read about PEP. What is it?
PEP stands for Post Exposure Prophylaxis.
This is the term for using HIV drugs after a potential exposure to reduce the risk of HIV infection.
This usually involves taking a combination of three drugs for four weeks. PEP needs to be taken as soon after exposure as possible. This is preferably within two hours even though some guidelines include a cut-off of 48 hours. The longer the delay the less the chance that PEP will work.
Before being given PEP you will be tested for HIV.
This is usually a rapid test which gives the result within 30 minutes. This test only tells you whether you were HIV positive three months ago, not from this recent risk.
If you are HIV-positive without knowing it, a short-course of treatment could lead to drug resistance. You can access PEP at any accident and emergency (A&E) department of a hospital 24 hours a day.
You can also access PEP from a GUM clinic during working hours. After a course of PEP you need to wait 28 days before testing for HIV. this is because PEP can delay infection.