What is PEP?
PEP (Post exposure prophylaxis) is a 4 week course of medication which prevents HIV. A prophylaxis is something which prevents the spread of an infection or disease.
PEP needs to be taken 72 hours after the potential exposure to HIV. PEP stops HIV from replicating and establishing itself in your body.
Who can take PEP?
Anyone can take PEP who thinks they may have been exposed to HIV.
- you may have sex without condoms with someone who has HIV or may have HIV
- the condom breaks when having sex with someone who has or may have HIV
- You share needles with someone who has or may have HIV
You can talk to someone on the PEP line about what happened and they will provide you with advice about any level of risk.
If you are not sure whether you have been at risk you can also call Sexual Health InfoLink (SHIL) on 1800 451 624 and talk to a clinician.
How do I get PEP?
You can get PEP by contacting the NSW Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) hotline on 1800 737 669 or the local sexual health clinic.
If the hotline is not open you can contact your local hospital accident and emergency department.
For more detailed information see GetPEP website. It provides details about PEP for all Australian states.
It is important to remember that PEP is for emergency and one-off situations such as a condom breaking.
Most people who know they are living with HIV are on treatment and are probably undetectable. This means they have no detectable amounts of HIV in their blood. If your partner is undetectable there is no risk that HIV can be transmitted. However if your partner has not been taking their treatment they may not be undetectable and you may have been at risk.
If you are having condomless sex and your partner is HIV positive and not taking their treatments consistently then it is important to talk to your doctor about how to prevent transmission. One possibility is that you take PrEP.
PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis). can be taken before a potential exposure available from your GP. People who do not have HIV can take a pill daily to prevent getting HIV. For example, a couple may be attempting to conceive a baby and the negative partner can take a course of PrEP to reduce anxiety and any potential risk of transmission. For more information about PrEP see
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