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HIV-PEP (emergency HIV protection)

PEP (HIV post-exposure prophylaxis) is a medicine taken as an emergency treatment after exposure to an HIV risk. PEP must be started within 48 hours, and ideally taken as soon as possible. PEP is not a ‘morning after pill’ and there’s no guarantee that it’ll work. It is intended for emergencies and as a last resort, for example if the condom split during sex.

  1. The key takeaways
  2. Good to know

The key takeaways

  • If your risk exposure was less than two days ago, contact the emergency department of a hospital. Professionals will talk to you to assess whether emergency treatment is advisable.
  • Every hour counts: the quicker you react, the greater the chance that you can prevent an HIV infection.
  • The effectiveness of PEP decreases quickly after unprotected sex. After 48 hours it’s too late for PEP as it won’t work anymore.

Good to know

If your risk exposure was more than two days ago, you should still contact a test or advisory centre or a medical professional as a matter of urgency and talk about a potential HIV infection. Use a condom with any other sexual partners until an HIV test has ruled out an infection.

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