PEP with love
As WorldPride descends on us, and fellas from near and far swarm our city, the bumping and grinding is sure to heat up.
And sometimes, in the heat of the moment, we may forget to play safely.
Whether you had a night out that ended up at the sauna or some cute guy’s place, or you just got carried away at a party having a really good time, if you find yourself in a situation where you think you’ve been exposed to HIV, it’s important to know about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).
Because mistakes happen. And so does spontaneous sex.
What is PEP?
PEP is a short course of treatment that, if taken soon after exposure, can prevent HIV transmission. It’s for guys who think they may have recently been put at risk of HIV infection, though if you think you need it, you must act fast — within 72 hours of your potential exposure.
How does PEP work?
PEP involves a 4-week course of HIV treatment that helps prevent someone from HIV infection.
PEP works by stopping the virus from replicating after recent exposure. The cells originally infected with HIV die naturally within a short period, reducing the likelihood for HIV to establish itself in the body.
Who is PEP for?
PEP is for anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to HIV. Some of the most common reasons for needing PEP medication include the following:
- Having condomless anal sex or if the condom breaks/slips off during sex with someone who has or may have HIV
- Sharing needles or syringes with a person who has or may have HIV
When should I take PEP?
If you believe you’ve been exposed to HIV, you should start PEP as soon as possible, ideally within a few hours after the risk event. If it is not started within 72 hours (3 days) of exposure to HIV, the drug will likely be ineffective.
PEP should be a last resort, so if you have found yourself needing it several times, you should consider other HIV prevention options, such as condoms, PrEP and undetectable viral load (or “U=U”).
We’re all human and we’re not perfect, but the important thing is to stay safe, and if we can avoid getting HIV, we should do what we can to protect ourselves.
Where can I get PEP?
Contact your local sexual health clinic, hospital accident and emergency department or call the PEP NSW Hotline at 1800 PEP NOW (1800 737 669).
PEP With Love this WorldPride
This WorldPride will be filled with loving moments and cherished memories for us to take home. Be sure that you don’t add HIV to that list.
Put yourself first and stay safe, and if the emergency calls for it, don’t delay and get PEP.
For more on how to stay safe this WorldPride, head to withlove.org.au.