PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis, is a method of taking medication to prevent HIV infection after you suspect you've been exposed to the virus. It's not a guaranteed prevention method and should be considered as a last resort. Using PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), condoms, and practicing safe injection are still the most effective ways to prevent HIV.
If you think you've been exposed to HIV, it's crucial to start PEP as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours but no later than 72 hours after exposure. The full 28-day course of PEP should be taken every day as prescribed.
PEP is available at sexual health clinics, Emergency Departments in most public hospitals, and some clinics and doctors specializing in HIV and gay men's health. To ensure they're open and can provide PEP, it's a good idea to call ahead if you plan to visit a clinic or doctor. If the exposure occurs after regular hours, Emergency Departments are often the best option to start PEP promptly.
You can call the PEP Hotline at 1800 737 669 (1800 PEP NOW) to discuss your risk, get advice on whether PEP is recommended for you, and find a location where you can obtain it.
For the most up-to-date clinical guidelines please see: https://pep.guidelines.org.au/