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What is PEP?
PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis, is a short course of HIV medicines taken very soon after a possible exposure to HIV to prevent the virus from taking hold in your body. You must start it within 72 hours after you were exposed to HIV, or it won’t work. Every hour counts.
PEP should be used only in emergency situations. It is not meant for regular use by people who may be exposed to HIV frequently.
Do I Need PEP?
If you are HIV-negative and you think you may have been recently exposed to HIV, contact your health care provider immediately or go to an emergency room right away.
You may be prescribed PEP if you are HIV-negative or don’t know your HIV status, and in the last 72 hours you:
Think you may have been exposed to HIV during sex (for example, you had a condom break).
Shared needles or works to prepare drugs.
Were sexually assaulted.
*If you are prescribed PEP, you will need to take the HIV medicines every day for 28 days.You will also need to return to your health care provider at certain times while taking PEP and after you finish taking it for HIV testing and other tests.
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