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Exposure to HIV: Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)

When HIV first gets into the bloodstream, it can take time before the virus permanently infects someone. PEPSE (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis following Sexual Exposure) 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 and not on effective HIV treatment, or who has a high chance of being HIV positive, or if you have been sexually assaulted. Your risk will be assessed and we will advise whether PEPSE is suitable for you.


PEPSE 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 see a doctor in the Emergency Department as soon as possible for assessment.

PEPSE 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. Further information about PEPSE can be found here

Outside of Luton Sexual Health’s clinical hours, you can go to Accident and Emergency at Luton & Dunstable Hospital.

For more information about this kind of treatment or side effects, call us on 01582 497070