PEP

What is PEP?

PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis.

post = after exposure exposure to HIV prophylaxis prevention ]

PEP is a 28 day regime of medication taken by HIV-negative people to protect them from HIV transmission after a potential exposure.

Think of PrEP like the female contraceptive pill, abortion  and PEP like the emergency contraceptive (or morning after) pill.

How does PEP work?

PEP works by using anti-retroviral medication to prevent HIV from taking hold in the body. When HIV enters the body it targets T-cells (the body’s immune cells) where it multiplies before destroying the T-cell and moving on to infect and destroy many more. The drugs in PEP stop this replication process, mind and with nowhere to go the virus dies off.

You need to access PEP within 72 hours of exposure for it to be as effective as possible at preventing HIV. There are many places to get PEP – but if your exposure happens after hours it’s best to shoot off to emergency rather than wait til morning. The faster you get on PEP the better.

If you need to find somewhere to get PEP, head to GETPEP.info to find your closest hospital, or GP prescribing PEP.

WHAT ABOUT STIS?

If you have been exposed to HIV through sexual contact, it’s possible you might have come into contact with other STIs.

If you access PEP, you’ll be assessed by the clinical staff for your risk of other STIs, tested, and treated where appropriate.

Other STIs won’t impact how effective the PEP you get works. However, if you have an existing STI (such as syphilis) at the time you are exposed to HIV it could increase your chances of acquiring HIV.

Do I need PEP?

If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV you should access PEP from GETPEP.info

You need PEP if you are HIV-negative but have been potentially exposed to HIV. Don’t forget, it doesn’t matter if you are the top or bottom – anyone can get HIV.

However, just because you’ve had sex without a condom doesn’t mean you need PEP.

If you’ve fucked someone who is on PrEP, or positive with an undetectable viral load it is not recommended that you access PEP.

  • We know that people who are on PrEP and adhering to their regime are HIV-negative, and therefore are unable to transmit the virus, as they do not have any HIV in their body.
  • We know that people with an undetectable viral load are unable to transmit the virus.
However…

You need to have all the facts to make the decision on whether you need PEP and you need to have trust in the person you’re fucking.. If you can, discuss your exposure with your partner. Don’t have your hook-ups contact details? It’s best to access PEP as soon as possible.

Call one of the hotlines on GETPEP.info if you’re at all unsure about your risk.

Is PrEP right for me?

If you’ve accessed PEP before more than once, you might want to consider PEP as an extra means of protection from HIV. Talk to your doctor, do your research, and ask friends that are on PrEP – and make an informed decision based on your own risk.

For most people PrEP isn’t for life, and as your risk levels change you can stop PrEP anytime that’s right for you.

What if I’m First Nations?

Pricing for HIV treatment varies for the general population by state and territory. First Nations people (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people) can access reduced cost medication regardless of where they lived under the Closing the Gap healthcare program. Essentially this means that many PBS listed medications (such as HIV treatments – and PEP) can be accessed for $6.80 – or free if you have a health care card. Your prescriber will need to put a note on your script so that the dispensing chemist will know to give you the correct pricing, so talk with your doctor.

If you’re a prescriber – get up to speed on Closing The Gap