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Post Exposure Prophylaxis

If you've had unprotected sex within the last 72 hours and you're worried you may have been infected with HIV read on.

PEP stands for "Post Exposure Prophylaxis". It's a treatment that may prevent HIV infection entering the body. For it to be effective, treatment has to start within 72 hours after sexual or needle-stick exposure to HIV. The treatment must be taken for a month, it can have unpleasant side effects, and does not guarantee a HIV negative result.

PEP is available from the GU/Sexual Health Clinic at Royal Cornwall Hospital (Treliske), it is also available out of hours from the Accident & Emergency Department. The sooner PEP treatment is started (after exposure to HIV) the better chance it has of preventing HIV infection.

It must be stressed that PEP is NOT a "morning after pill"  solution to unprotected sex - Condoms are still the best form of protection from HIV & STI infection.