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What is PEP?

PEP or Post-Exposure Prophylaxis is a medicine that can be taken after you may have been exposed to HIV to prevent getting HIV. PEP must be started within 72 hours or three days after you may have been exposed to HIV. People are exposed to HIV by coming into contact with certain bodily fluids of a person living with HIV, including semen, vaginal fluid and blood. This usually happens through anal or vaginal sex, or by sharing needles or other drug-injecting equipment.

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PEP FAQs

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PEP stands for Post-Exposure Prophylaxis while PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. PEP is short-term treatment offered to reduce the likelihood of acquiring HIV infection to a person who has had exposure to the HIV virus within the last 72 hours, while PrEP is medication given PRIOR to exposure to the virus to an eligible HIV-negative person. 

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PEP may be right for you if you may have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours and you are HIV negative. For example, if you had a condom burst with a partner with a positive or unknown HIV status, experienced sexual assault or shared needles and syringes used to inject drugs. If you have experienced this occurrence, you are eligible for PEP. 

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PEP is not recommended when a person in need of PEP seeks services 72 hours after exposure. PEP should only be used for emergency situations. It is not meant to be used by people who may be exposed to HIV frequently. If you are frequently exposed to HIV you should consider taking PrEP. 

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PEP works by stopping the virus from multiplying after a recent exposure. The cells originally infected with HIV die naturally within a short period of time reducing the likelihood for HIV to establish itself in the body. 

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If taken within 72 hours of exposure, PEP is highly effective at preventing HIV. It is most effective when it is started rapidly after exposure and taken daily for 28 days without skipping a dose. 

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Just like any other medication, a person taking PEP might have mild effects which may include nausea, fatigue, vomiting headaches and diarrhoea. Most people do not have to change or stop PEP because of the side effects.  

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A trained doctor or clinician can prescribe PEP after assessing risk of HIV infection. If you think you should be prescribed PEP book a consultation with a MYDAWA clinician today. 

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MYDAWA is taking part in a study which enables us to offer PEP for free thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation! However, before you start on PEP you will have to take a blood based HIVST. At MYDAWA Mylan and SureCheck HIVSTs cost KES 250 plus delivery charges of KES 99 in Nairobi County. Click here to buy your blood based HIVST. 

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PEP is available from MYDAWA. You can start accessing PEP by booking a free consultation with one of MYDAWA’s Clinical Officers. This is a completely non-judgmental, private and confidential service. Or if you have already taken a Mylan or Sure Check HIVST – upload an image of your HIVST result here to get started! PEP is also available at government health facilities, select private health facilities, and drop-in centres. 

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