PEP is Post Exposure Prophylaxis. What does that mean?
Post’ is afterwards
Exposure is when you may have had contact with HIV.
Prophylaxis is a treatment which is given to prevent a disease.
PEP is a series of pills you can start taking very soon after you’ve been exposed to HIV that lowers your chances of getting it. But you have to start PEP within 72 hours, or 3 days, after you were exposed to HIV, or it won’t work. The sooner you start, the better it works — every hour matters.
You take PEP 1-2 times a day for at least 28 days. The medicines used in PEP are called antiretroviral medications. These medicines work by stopping HIV from spreading through your body. PEP is a treatment to help you prevent getting HIV once you have unprotected sex or have been exposed. If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours, talk to your nurse or a doctor about PEP, right away.