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HIV prevention medications (PEP & PrEP)

PrEP is HIV medication taken before sex, to reduce the risk of getting HIV. Research suggests that PrEP is as effective as condoms at preventing HIV when the medication is taken correctly.

PrEP does not protect against any STIs (other than HIV) and it only protects the person taking PrEP.

PEP or PEPSE (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis following Sexual Exposure)

When HIV first gets into the bloodstream, it can take time before the virus permanently infects someone. PEP or PEPSE (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis following Sexual Exposure) is a medication than can prevent this happening if it is given quickly enough.

Talk to us or a doctor if you have:

  • had unprotected sex or a condom failure with someone who is known to be HIV positive, or who has a high chance of being HIV positive
  • if you have been sexually assaulted

PEP must be started within 72 hours after possible HIV exposure. The sooner the treatment is started, the more effective it is, so if you have been exposed to HIV, it is important to contact us, or a doctor, as soon as possible.

PEP is a four-week course of medication, and you will need to attend the clinic for check-ups and blood tests during this time, and for three months following exposure.

For more information about this kind of treatment or side effects, contact your local Spectrum sexual health clinic.

Outside of Spectrum’s opening hours you can access the following:

Accident and Emergency department at Barnsley Hospital.

Accident and Emergency department at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Find out more information on PrEP: