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PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis, is a course of antiretroviral drugs taken after potential exposure to HIV. It can reduce the risk of infection by up to 85%. If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV, it’s important to seek medical help as soon as possible. PEP should be started within 72 hours of exposure, and ideally within 24 hours. The sooner you start taking it, the better. PEP is not a replacement for condoms or other prevention methods, and it’s not 100% effective. But if taken correctly, it can significantly reduce your risk of HIV infection.

Who should take PEP?

There are a few different groups of people who may benefit from taking PEP:

  • People who have recently been exposed to HIV
  • People who have had unprotected sex or shared needles with someone who is HIV positive
  • People who are unsure of their partner's HIV status

If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. The sooner you start taking PEP, the better your chances are of preventing infection.

How to take PEP

In order to take PEP, you must first consult with a medical professional to see if it is right for you. If you are prescribed PEP, you will need to take it within 72 hours of exposure to HIV and continue taking it for 28 days. The medication can be in the form of a pill or liquid, and must be taken every day at the same time. It is important to finish the entire course of medication, even if you start feeling better, as stopping early can lead to resistance.

What are the side effects of PEP?

PEP can cause a number of side effects, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, headache, and dizziness. In rare cases, PEP can cause serious side effects such as kidney failure or allergic reactions. If you experience any of these side effects while taking PEP, stop taking the medication and seek medical help immediately.

Where to get PEP

There are a few different places that you can get PEP. If you think that you’ve been exposed to HIV, you can go to your local emergency room and they will most likely have PEP available. You can also contact your local health department or AIDS service organization and they may be able to help you get PEP. There are also a few pharmacies that now offer PEP. If you’re not sure where to get it, you can call the HIV.GOV Hotline at 1-800-448-0440 and they will be able to help you find a place that provides PEP.


Confidential STD Testing | 10 Test Panel $139 | Local STD Testing in the US
Your results will not be reported to your insurance company and therefore will not be placed on your permanent medical records.