In This Section
What is PEP?
PEP or Post Exposure Prophylaxis is used as a treatment for people who may have been exposed to HIV. This includes people from higher risk groups who have had unprotected sex, shared drug injecting equipment, or people who have been sexually assaulted. Healthcare workers who may have been exposed to the virus (e.g. through needle stick injury) are advised to contact Occupational Health to access PEP.
When HIV first gets into someone’s bloodstream it can take time before the virus permanently infects them. PEP can prevent this happening, but it’s important to act quickly.
Timing of PEP
In order to be effective PEP needs to be given within 72 hours of the possible exposure to HIV, although it has a better chance of working and preventing HIV infection if treatment is started within 24 hours.
In Sheffield PEP is available from a number of services:
Sexual Health Sheffield
Telephone 0114 226 8888 to book an appointment (you will be offered an appointment within 48 hrs ).
At weekends and bank holidays in order to access PEP within the recommended 72 hours of exposure, advice and “starter packs” are available via the Accident and Emergency Department at the Northern General Hospital and via the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for victims of sexual assault.
What happens next?
The medical staff will determine whether you are eligible for PEP by discussing how you think you may have been exposed to HIV. If you are eligible and staff think you may have been put at risk, then you will begin treatment. You will need to remain on treatment for the full 28 days, and will need to attend Sexual Health Sheffield for check ups and blood tests after completing treatment, and for the following three months after exposure.
You will also be monitored for side effects as PEP can make you feel sick and give you diarrhoea.
For further information and advice regarding PEP, please contact one of our Health Advisers at Sexual Health Sheffield on 0114 226 8888