Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)
PEP can prevent HIV after you have been exposed.
Post = after
Exposure = coming into contact with something
Prophylaxis = action taken to prevent disease
What is PEP?
PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) is a four week course of treatment that may prevent the acquisition of HIV after a high risk exposure. PEP should be commenced as soon as possible after exposure (ideally within 24 hours) and no later than 72 hours.
There is no cure once HIV is detectable in the blood. PEP gives everyone the chance to prevent HIV from establishing itself in your body after you are exposed.
Where can I access PEP?
In Queensland, PEP is available from all sexual health clinics, as well as public hospital emergency departments. Your nearest sexual health clinic won’t be far, get their address here. If you need help finding where to go, you can give QPP a call during business hours or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).
What will the doctor ask me if I want to access PEP?
When you access PEP, the medical staff will need to ask you a few questions so they can decide the best course of treatment. They will ask personal questions, but remember, they are doing it to assess your level of risk and prescribe something that will be most effective, and they can only do this if you are honest with them.
Some questions you might be asked are:
- What type of sex did you have? Eg. Anal (receptive/insertive), vaginal (receptive/insertive), oral etc.
- Did you use a condom?
- Did they cum inside you?
- Did you know the person you had sex with?
- Do you know the persons’ HIV status?
- Do you know if the person is from a high HIV prevalence country?
- Do you inject drugs?
What are the common reasons for needing PEP?
- Condom breaking during sex
- Having sex without a condom with a person living with HIV, or a person with an unknown HIV status
- Sharing injecting equipment with a person living with HIV, or a person with an unknown HIV status
- Blood to blood contact
- Needle stick injury
Want to speak to someone about PEP?
You can give us a call at QPP during business hours or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) to get more info on PEP.
Remember, the most important thing about PEP is how quickly you begin taking it, so if you have been exposed to HIV, immediately go to your nearest sexual health clinic or public hospital emergency department.