What is PEPSE?
This is a course of tablets which is taken after high risk sexual exposure to HIV. This could be given to someone after a condom breaks or if they have had unprotected sex with someone who is assessed by a doctor as being high risk of having HIV OR known to be HIV positive AND who is not on treatment.
It is no longer needed if the HIV positive patient is on effective treatment with an undetectable viral load for more than 6 months (undetectable = untransmissable).
If this course of treatment is taken correctly the treatment can reduce the risk of acquiring HIV significantly.
It is vital that this medication is started AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AND NO LATER THAN 72 hours after the risk -it is not effective after this time.
The earlier the medication is started, the more effective it is likely to be.
Not every case is suitable for PEPSE and the HIV Consultant will use guidelines to determine whether it is suitable; this treatment is NOT a substitute for safe sex (i.e. using condoms).
Things you need to know before starting PEPSE
The treatment course must be taken for 28 days
There may be unpleasant side effects
The treatment is not 100% effective and if it doesn’t work, may affect your future HIV treatment if you become infected.
Bloods are required before, during and after treatment including an HIV test.
Where is PEPSE available?
It can be accessed locally from:
The Department of Sexual Health at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital (Monday- Friday 8:00 - 17:00; 01202 704644, option 1)
Emergency Departments at Poole and Bournemouth Hospitals (out of hours)
Over the Rainbow (Wednesdays only – 01202 257478; they are also available for advice Tuesday- Friday 10:00 - 17:00).