Post-Exposure Prophylaxis


  • 4 week course of medication to reduce risk of HIV after possible exposure.
  • Best taken within a few hours of exposure but can be taken up to 72 hours after exposure.
  • PEP is not a vaccine or cure for HIV/AIDS and is not a ‘morning after pill’.
  • Must be taken exactly as prescribed and side effects may occur.

PEP Details
Practising safe sex is always better with the use of condoms and water-based lubricants but in the case that you may be at risk of being exposed to HIV, PEP can be taken to assist in reducing the risk of infection.

PEP is available to anyone who believes they have been exposed to HIV and the 4 week course of medication needs to commence within the first 72 hours after exposure to have greater affect. However, PEP does not guarantee that an infection will not occur; it reduces the risk of HIV/AID infection. Side effects to PEP can occur as the treatment consists of powerful drugs. People taking PEP have experienced diarrhoea, abdominal pain and/headaches during the treatment.

The risk of being exposed begins with HIV infected bodily fluids, including semen, blood or vaginal fluids, entering your blood stream. This is more likely to occur from unprotected anal or vagina intercourse, broken or slipped condoms during protected intercourse and sharing injecting equipment.

If you believe you have been exposed to HIV it is best seek treatment as soon as possible. You can visit the nearest STI clinic, your doctor or call the 24/7 hotline in your state for assistance in beginning a course of PEP. When calling the hotline male and female registered nurses are available to answer your call and make an initial assessment. From there they will direct you in the appropriate course of action.

To reduce your risk of HIV infection and other STIs remember to play safe and arm yourself with knowledge, especially if your partner’s HIV status is different from your own.

PEP Hotlines

  • South Australia (24/7) 1800 022 226 (Free Call)
  • New South Wales (24/7) 1800 737 669 (Free Call)
  • Victoria (24/7) 1800 889 887 (Free Call)
  • Australian Capital Territory – Canberra Sexual Health Centre (during business hours) 02 6244 2184
  • Northern Territory – Clinic 34 (during business hours) 8922 8007
  • Queensland AIDS Medical Unit (During business hours. Brisbane) 3224 5526
  • Tasmania (24/7) 1800 005 900 (Free Call)
  • Western Australia 1300 767 161

Information provided on All Colours of Grey is intended for basic informative purposes only. For further information and professional guidance you should contact your health care providers or your state health department.

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