PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis is medication taken to prevent HIV after a possible exposure. PEP should be used only in emergency situations and must be started within 72 hours after a recent possible exposure to HIV. It’s critical you get to your healthcare provider as soon as possible, every hour counts!
Remember, PEP is for emergency situations only and:
- PEP is a combination of three drugs taken once or twice a day for 28 days
- PEP shouldn’t be used as a substitute for other HIV prevention methods
- PEP is not the right choice for people who may be exposed to HIV frequently
- You must start it within 72 hours (3 days) after a possible exposure to HIV or PEP won’t be effective
The most well-known branded medications for PEP are Retrovir, Epivir, and Combivir.
If taken within 72 hours after possible exposure, PEP is highly effective in preventing HIV. While taking PEP, it’s best to exercise increased caution and continue to use other HIV prevention methods to ensure you don’t transmit HIV.