If you think that there is the possibility you’ve been exposed to HIV, the time to act is now! PEP (Post-exposure prophylaxis) is a medication that can be taken within 72 hours after to exposure to prevent HIV infection. If you’ve been exposed, here’s what you should know, and what you should do, as soon as possible to protect yourself.
Exposure to HIV is something that can be avoided by taking a number of precautions to protect yourself. That said, there are instances where you may be exposed to HIV for reasons beyond your control. In those emergency cases, there is a medication available that can help to prevent HIV infection. Post-exposure prophylaxis is an emergency treatment that involves taking HIV medication within 72 hours of possible exposure. Though, the 72 hours guideline is noted, it’s recommended that you seek PEP treatment as soon as possible.
How to Get PEP after Exposure
To be clear, post-exposure prophylaxis should only be used in emergency circumstances. These include instances like sexual assault, exposure to dirty needles, or even a failed method of protection like a broken condom. You should always be taking the proper precautions, protecting yourself, and reducing your risk factor when it comes to safe sexual activities. In the event of an emergency, you can get PEP from a number of places including your primary care provider’s office, urgent care clinics, the emergency room, or local HIV clinics. The important thing is that you get access to the medication as quickly as possible.
Does PEP Work?
PEP is a highly effective medication when used within the 72 hour time, however, like anything it is not 100%. The sooner you get access to PEP the better. If your doctor prescribes PEP as an option for you, you’ll be on the medication for 28 days. During this time, you’ll need to continue protecting yourself and others by using condoms with your partners.