What is PEP?

Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is an ‘emergency’ course of ARVs (antiretroviral tablets used to treat HIV) given to someone who is HIV-negative after they have had a high-risk event of getting HIV. This could be a condom breaking during anal sex, especially if they were the bottom (receptive partner). PEP reduces the risk of becoming infected but must be taken within 72 hours (3 days) of possible contact with HIV for it to be effective.

PEP is usually used AFTER an instance of HIV exposure (such as after a risky sexual encounter), while PrEP is used BEFORE having sex and is an ongoing medication to prevent HIV.