‘I think I’ve been exposed to HIV within the last three days. What can I do?’

What is PEPSE (or PEP)?

PEPSE (post exposure prophylaxis for sexual exposure), sometimes known as PEP, is a powerful four-week course of drugs that can help prevent the HIV infection from becoming established if started within 72 hours of exposure. More information can be found on the PEP Scotland website.

Does it work?

It is taken for a month following a high risk exposure and reduces the risk of HIV transmission by around 80%.

Are there side effects?

Side effects can include diarrhoea, headaches and vomiting, but these can usually be controlled.

Where can you get it?

PEPSE is available from GUM clinics, accident and emergency departments and some other out-of-hours medical services.

Find out which of your local services offer this so that you have the information easily to hand when you need it.

What if I’ve had unprotected sex more than three days ago?

Find out where you can get tested.