Post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV (PEP)

I think I might have been exposed to HIV, what should I do?

Post Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV (PEP) is when anti-retroviral drugs (drugs used to treat HIV) are given to try to prevent HIV infection in someone exposed to the HIV virus.
You may have been exposed to HIV through sexual contact or from blood to blood contact eg: from a needlestick injury
The drugs need to be given as soon as possible. They are most effective if given within 24 hours of exposure and unlikely to have any effect more than 72 hours after.

The drugs must be taken for four weeks.

The drugs used can cause  side-effects so should only be prescribed when the risk of infection is significant. This can be a complicated issue and is done on a case-by-case basis. If you think you may need post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), it is urgent that you contact us straight away either at a clinic or via the sexual health helpline. If it is out with clinic hours you should go immediately to the Emergency Department. For further information  

Sexual Health Advice Line - 01324 613944.


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