After exposure (“Morning after Pill for HIV”)
PEP is a series of pills taken over 28 days after a possible HIV exposure to prevent HIV. The sooner you start PEP, the better it will work. Every hour counts!
It is most effective when taken within 24 hours but can work up to 72 hours after exposure. If taken within 72 hours, it can reduce the risk of HIV infection by up to 80%.
It may be a good idea to talk to a doctor about PEP if you have been exposed to HIV recently:
- during sex (for example, if the condom broke or you did not use one)
- through sharing needles, syringes, or other equipment to inject drugs
- if you’ve been sexually assaulted
Contact The Miriam STI Clinic for more information or to access PEP.
PEP is intended for emergency use. If you may be frequently exposed to HIV or at ongoing risk for HIV, you can speak to a healthcare provider about PrEP.
If at any time you are afraid that your partner may hurt you, or if you feel you are in danger, you can call 1-800-799-SAFE
or go to the National Domestic Violence Hotline website for help.
Before exposure (“A pill to prevent HIV”)
PrEP is a medicine that can prevent HIV infection in those who are at risk and test negative for HIV. There are two medications currently used as PrEP: Truvada and Descovy.
PrEP can reduce HIV risk by up to 90%.
According to the CDC, PrEP may be right for you if you:
- Have a sexual partner with HIV
- Do not consistently use a condom
- Have been diagnosed with an STI in the past 6 months, or
- Inject drugs, have an injection partner with HIV, or share needs or other equipment
PrEP is a medication for those who are HIV negative. While on PrEP, you will need to be tested for HIV every 3 months to make sure you remain HIV negative.
PrEP is very safe, but there are some possible side effects. Stomach upset (nausea) can occur and typically goes away after a couple weeks. The medication can cause kidney problems, so we monitor kidney function closely. Other potential side effects include the weakening or softening of bones and liver problems.
While PrEP is often taken daily to prevent HIV, it can also be taken only when you are at risk for HIV in what is known as “On-Demand PrEP,” or “event-driven PrEP.”
There is scientific evidence that the “2-1-1” schedule provides effective protection for gay and bisexual men when having anal sex without a condom.
You take two pills 2-24 hours before sex, one pill 24 hours after the initial dose, and one final pill 24 hours later. If you have sex more than 24 hours after taking your first dose (two pills), or over multiple days, you will need to continue taking one pill every day until you have taken two doses following your last anal sex encounter.