In moments of uncertainty or potential exposure to HIV, knowing your options for protection is an important part of your journey to choosing #ForeverWena. PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a critical intervention that offers individuals the opportunity to take control of their sexual health and minimise the risk of HIV transmission after a potential exposure. Let's explore what PEP is, who it's for, and how it can be a valuable resource in navigating unexpected situations.

What is PEP? 

PEP is a short-term treatment regimen designed to prevent HIV infection after potential exposure. It involves taking a combination of antiretroviral medications for a period of 28 days. PEP works by stopping HIV from replicating in the body, reducing the likelihood of the virus establishing a permanent infection.

Who is PEP for? 

PEP is recommended for individuals who have experienced a recent potential exposure to HIV, such as unprotected sex, needle sharing, sexual assault, or occupational exposure (e.g., healthcare workers). It's crucial to initiate PEP as soon as possible after exposure, and within 72 hours (3 days), to maximise its effectiveness.

Protection is always key 

While PEP offers a vital safety net in moments of potential HIV exposure, it's important to remember that correct and consistent use of protection (like condoms) is essential in protecting yourself and your partner/s from HIV, other STIs, and unintended pregnancy.  PEP should not be viewed as a substitute for protection but rather as an additional layer of protection in situations where exposure to HIV may occur unexpectedly.  

Part 2 | PEP’s Role in Your Health


NIH. Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) [Internet]. 2024 [cited 2024 Feb 29].
DeHaan E. Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) to Prevent HIV Infection [Internet]. PubMed. Baltimore (MD): Johns Hopkins University; 2020.