Post Exposure Prophylaxis
What is PEP?
PEP is short for post-exposure prophylaxis. It’s a medication that can prevent you from getting HIV after you have potentially been exposed to the virus through sex (or injecting).
You can think of PEP as a kind of ‘morning after pill’, but it’s a course of tablets that you take for 4 weeks after sex.
PEP works the same way as PrEP and HIV medicines: by stopping HIV from making copies of itself, so it can’t set up in your body.
You need to go to a specialist sexual health doctor to access PEP. The doctor will do an assessment and decide whether PEP is right for you. You can also go to some public hospital emergency departments for PEP, which can be the best option if you need it on a weekend or outside of business hours. Find the nearest place for you to access PEP here.
The doctor’s assessment is important to determine whether PEP is needed. Some activities, such as oral sex or any sex with a condom, are very low risk for HIV, so you might not need to take it.
PEP can have side effects for some people, like a headache or an upset stomach for a few days. Your doctor can talk to you about this and how to manage it if it happens.
QPP and RAPID don’t have doctors to prescribe PEP, but we can answer your questions about it and help you get in touch with a clinic if you want to consider taking it. Remember though, it needs to be started within 72 hours after sex.
If you have Medicare, PEP is available at a low cost through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). If you don’t have Medicare, you may be able to access it through insurance or another way – you can ask your doctor.
A tablet that you can take to reliably prevent HIV. Lots of people, especially gay and bisexual men, take PrEP to prevent HIV.
Treatment As Prevention
TasP refers to using HIV medication to dramatically reduce the chance of transmitting HIV to others.
How Is HIV Transmitted
HIV can be shared in some body fluids, like blood and semen, but not in fluids like saliva or sweat.
Our trained team is here to help you should you have any questions or need support. You can call for free from a Queensland land-line on 1800 636 241 or call (07) 3013 5555 (national). You can also email us or use the contact form or the chat function in the corner of our website.