PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis)
PEP is a drug you can take immediately after a possible exposure to HIV to lessen the chances of obtaining HIV.
PEP is a course of HIV medication you can take if you have been at risk of HIV infection. The course of HIV medication lasts 28 days and, if taken within 72 hours of putting yourself at risk, may be able to prevent you from developing HIV.
You can get PEP at a GUM sexual health clinic or in Accident and Emergency. A&Es are especially important at weekends because most sexual health clinics will not be open. You must start PEP within 72 hours of the possible exposure to HIV, though the sooner you start PEP the more likely it is to be effective. Please note we cannot provide PEP at Pitstop Walk-in Clinics. For more information visit this site: https://www.lgbthero.org.uk/pep
PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis)
PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis is a medication that HIV negative people can take as a method of preventing HIV infection. Recent research has shown that if taken 7 days a week PrEP is very, very highly effective at reducing HIV risk.
PrEP is another layer of defence in preventing HIV transmission, it is particularly effective when used by people, who regularly engage in unprotected anal sex or chemsex. PrEP will not prevent other STIs and should be utilised alongside condoms to prevent STIs fully.
NHS England has now made PrEP available for free to those at risk of HIV transmission, this includes cis or trans men who have sex with men and trans women. To access this service you will need to speak with a GUM sexual health clinic who will be able to arrange the medication.
For further information on getting PrEP via private prescription, buying PrEP online, PrEP Access Fund, and information about the medication itself visit these sites:
If you are already taking PrEP and are buying it from somewhere else (other than a UK clinic e.g. online), or if you are considering starting PrEP, make sure you speak to a sexual health clinician or your GP. They can advise you about dosing and carry out the necessary kidney function blood tests to ensure that PrEP is suitable for you.
If you are based in Greenwich and would like more information or a referral to get started on PrEP, send us an email at email@example.com
TasP (Treatment as Prevention)
TasP or treatment as prevention is a HIV prevention strategy that refers to someone who has been diagnosed as HIV positive. If taken effectively HIV treatment can reduce the amount of the virus in a person's body. When there is so little HIV in a person's body, it is referred to as an 'undetectable viral load' or 'undetectable' If someone has an undetectable viral load they can't pass on HIV to partners during sex.
It is possible to rely on an undetectable viral load if:
The HIV positive partner has had a sustained undetectable viral load for more than 6 months, does not miss doses of their treatment, and their viral load is checked by a clinician every 3 - 4 months
TasP will not prevent other STIs meaning that condom usage is still recommended, particularly for those having casual sex, those in new relationships, and those in non-monogamous relationships.
TasP requires incredibly high levels of trust and communication and requires strong adherence to HIV medications and regular viral load checks. Like most HIV prevention strategies TasP will be a great option for some people but is an unlikely technique to suit all situations.
To learn more about TasP visit the below links: