If you think you may have been put at risk of HIV infection you should consider getting Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).
What it PEP and how does PEP work?
PEP stands for Post Exposure Prophylaxis. PEP is a 4 week course of HIV treatments which is taken after an incident where you think you may have been exposed to HIV, in order to prevent acquiring HIV. PEP works by boosting the body’s immune system following exposure to HIV and stopping the virus from replicating. The cells originally infected with HIV die naturally within a short period of time, 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 include:
- Having condomless anal sex or if the condom breaks/slips off during sex
- Sharing needles or syringes with a person who has or may have HIV
When should I take PEP?
PEP should be started as soon as possible or within a few hours after the risk event. If it is not started within 72 hours (3 days) of exposure to HIV it is likely that the drug will be ineffective.
What if I test positive after PEP?
If you test positive for HIV it is important to start treatment right away. But don’t freak out, living with HIV is not as hard as you may think. The myriad of treatment methods now available has made HIV a very manageable condition. View resources, workshops and other information for newly diagnosed HIV positive gay men here
Where can I get PEP?
If you believe you have been at risk of exposure to HIV, or to get PEP, contact your local sexual health clinic, hospital accident and emergency department or the PEP NSW hotline 1800 PEP NOW (1800 737 669) open:
- Monday – Friday 9am – 9pm
- Saturday/Sunday 8am – 9pm
- Public Holidays 8am – 9pm
For questions regarding HIV call the HIV Hotline on 9332 9700 or 1800 451 600.
For more info about PEP and to find locations to access PEP in your area, visit the www.getpep.info website.