PEP and PrEP explained

Two new ways to prevent HIV infections

PEP involves the use of HIV medication by individuals who have been very recently exposed to HIV to reduce the risk of infection. PEP is not a single tablet but a course of treatment which needs to be taken for 28 days. It is more effective the sooner it is started after exposure to the risk of HIV infection. Ideally this should be within the first 24 hours, though PEP may be offered up to 72 hours after exposure.

The principle behind PEP is that the very early use of HIV drugs may stop HIV from establishing itself in the body. It is available on prescription through sexual health clinics or hospital emergency departments, though not through GPs, and it is given at the discretion of the health professional.

PrEP involves the use of HIV medication by someone who is HIV-negative but known to be at risk of acquiring HIV. In recent years, several high-profile studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of PrEP in protecting people at high risk of HIV. Most commonly, it is one pill that is taken daily on a consistent basis.

PrEP trials

NHS PrEP Impact Trials are ongoing in Berkshire through the Florey Unit in Reading and the Garden Clinic in Slough. Currently both trials are at full capacity but both centres have waiting lists for people who would like to take part in the trial if more places become available.

To register your interest please visit the safesexberkshire website.

Alternatively, you can send an e-mail direct to the clinics, with your full name, date of birth, address and contact telephone number with PrEP Impact Trial as the subject title. to:

Florey Unit: daniel.ellis@royalberkshire.nhs.uk

Garden Clinic: prep@berkshire.nhs.uk

PrEP can also be purchased privately. For more information visit www.prepster.info or www.iwantprepnow.co.uk

If you do choose to purchase PrEP privately, we strongly recommend that you inform your local sexual health clinic, so they can monitor your health.

PEP & PrEP do not protect against other STIs, so the use of condoms is still advised.

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