Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP (sometimes called PEPSE)) is a course of HIV treatment that can be given to a HIV negative person who is at risk of HIV due to a recent exposure.

The treatment must be started within 72 hours of the exposure, and the sooner the better. The course lasts for 28 days and can be effective at preventing a HIV infection.

If you think you’ve been at serious risk of HIV infection within the past 72 hours you can access PEP from a sexual health clinic, or from a hospital A&E department. When attending a sexual health clinic or hospital A&E department ask the person that sees you for “PEP to prevent HIV infection”.

You will be tested for HIV before you are given PEP, immediately after finishing the 28 day course, and then again two months after that.

The current recommended PEP treatment is Truvada (one pill taken once daily) and Ritonavir (one pill taken twice daily). It is common for people taking PEP to experience some side effects such as nausea, diarrhoea, headaches and sweats.