PEP stands for post exposure prophylaxis. PEP is a series of pills you can start taking very soon after you’ve been exposed to HIV that lowers your chances of getting it. But you have to start PEP within 72 hours, or 3 days, after you were exposed to HIV, or it won’t work. The sooner you start, the better it works — every hour matters.
You take PEP 1-2 times a day for at least 28 days. The medicines used in PEP are called antiretroviral medications (ART). These medicines work by stopping HIV from spreading through your body.
PEP is for people who may have been exposed to HIV in the last 3 days. PEP might be right for you if:
If you were exposed to HIV in the last 3 days and want PEP, see a nurse or doctor or go to the emergency room immediately. Timing is really important. You must start PEP as soon as you can after being exposed to HIV for it to work.
PEP is for emergencies. It can’t take the place of proven, ongoing ways to prevent HIV — like using condoms, taking PrEP (a daily pill that lowers your chances of getting HIV), and not sharing needles or works. If you know you may be exposed to HIV often (like if you have a partner or partners who may be HIV-positive), talk to your nurse or doctor about PrEP.
If you’re a health care worker and think you may have been exposed to HIV at work, go to your doctor or the emergency room right away. Then report the incident to your supervisor. HIV transmission in health care settings is extremely rare, and there are procedures and safety devices that can lower your chances of coming into contact with HIV while caring for patients.
You can get PEP from Dr Raina’s Safehands, You can start PEP up to 72 hours (3 days) after you were exposed to HIV, but don’t wait it’s really important to start PEP as soon as possible. Every hour counts.
Before you get PEP, the nurse or doctor will talk with you about what happened, to decide whether PEP is right for you. They’ll give you a blood test for HIV (if you already have HIV, you won’t be able to use PEP). You’ll also be tested for Hepatitis B. And if you were exposed to HIV through sex, you’ll get tests for other STDs like gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and syphilis.