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PEP: The Emergency Treatment After HIV Exposure

PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis)
Is an emergency medication for people who are HIV-negative and may have been exposed to HIV. If you think you were exposed to HIV, go immediately to a clinic or emergency room and ask for PEP.

How do I know if I need PEP?
If you are HIV-negative, PEP can protect you if you had anal or vaginal sex without a condom (or your condom broke) with someone who has HIV or may have HIV. PEP can stop HIV if you were the victim of sexual assault. PEP can also stop HIV if you were exposed while injecting drugs. You may be at higher risk of HIV infection if you were the receptive (or "bottom") partner in anal or vaginal sex (if you had a partner's penis in your anus or vagina). Receptive partners have a greater chance of exposure to HIV through semen or blood.

How do I start PEP?
PEP works best if started right away. Go to an emergency room or clinic as soon as possible after the exposure to HIV and ask about PEP. You should begin PEP no more than 36 hours after exposure. PEP is taken in pill form for 28 days. You need to take PEP each day to keep enough medicine in your body to stop HIV.

How does PEP stop HIV?

PEP contains some of the same medicines that people with HIV take to stay healthy. If you are exposed to HIV, it takes a few days for an HIV infection to take hold in your body. As soon as you start PEP, these medicines begin to stop the virus from multiplying. As you continue taking PEP for the full 28-days, cells with HIV die and the virus stops spreading to the rest of your body.

condom protection even when using PEP If I take PEP, do I still have to use condoms?
PEP does not provide full protection against HIV. Condoms give you and your partners additional protection, even while on PEP. Condoms also protect against other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancy. PEP is for emergency situations. If you worry about regular exposure to HIV through sex or while injecting drugs, PrEP may be a better option for you.

PEP and PrEP

WATCH: Exposed to HIV? It's time to talk PEP.

WATCH: PSA on HIV and Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)

PrEP: Daily Pill to Prevent HIV

PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis)
it is s a daily pill that can help you stay HIV-negative.
The medicines in PrEP can protect you before you might be exposed to HIV.

PrEP therapy provides you with the medicine that fights HIV How does PrEP stop HIV?

PrEP contains the same medicines that people with HIV use to stay healthy. If you are exposed to HIV, these medicines can stop the virus from multiplying and spreading throughout your body. PrEP only works if you have enough medicine in your body, so you need to take PrEP every day. Still, PrEP is not 100% effective. But people who took PrEP consistenly were up to 92% less likely to get HIV.

Should I consider taking PrEP?

PrEP is for people who are HIV-negative, have a high risk of being exposed to HIV through sex or drug injection, and are ready to take a daily pill. Studies have shown that PrEP works for sexually-active gay and bisexual men, heterosexual women and men, and injection drug users, and is also likely to benefit transgender women. PrEP can help protect anyone whose partner has HIV.

Truvada is PrEP How do I take PrEP?
PrEP is prescribed by a doctor or nurse. You should take PrEP exactly as prescribed. With PrEP, you take a pill once a day, even on the days you don't have sex or inject drugs. The only medication currently approved for PrEP is Truvada®. PrEP only works if you are HIV-negative and your risk of exposure is high. You may decide to stop taking this medication if your risk changes. But do not stop taking PrEP without first talking to your doctor.

Can I take PrEP only on the days when I have sex?

No. You must take PrEP every day to keep enough medicine in your body to protect you from HIV.

If I take PrEP, do I still have to use condoms?
PrEP does not provide 100% protection against HIV. Condoms provide additional protection against HIV, even while you take PrEP. Condoms also protect against other sexually transmitted infections and prevent unintended pregnancy.

WATCH: Information about PrEP and how the pill can protect you from getting HIV.

WATCH: Video clip on PrEP in 3 minutes

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