PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) is a four week course of treatment that may prevent the acquisition of HIV after a high risk exposure. PEP should be started as soon as possible after exposure: ideally within 24 hours and no later than 72 hours.
There is no cure once HIV is detectable in the blood. PEP gives everyone the chance to prevent HIV from establishing itself in your body after you are exposed. In Victoria, PEP is available from all sexual health clinics as well as public hospital emergency departments.
When you access PEP, the medical staff will need to ask you a few questions so they can decide the best course of treatment. They will ask personal questions to assess your level of risk and prescribe the most effective treatment, which they can only do if you are honest with them.
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is an HIV prevention strategy in which an HIV-negative individual takes an oral pill once a day before coming into contact with HIV to reduce his or her risk of HIV infection. The pill contains two medicines that are also used to treat HIV. PrEP must be taken daily for at least 7 days to reach optimal levels of protection against HIV.