Sexual contact

 

Unprotected sex with a person who has HIV carries a risk of transmitting the infection. An HIV negative person can be exposed to HIV by having unprotected vaginal or anal sex with someone who is HIV positive. If we give antiretroviral drugs (ARVs –drugs that fight HIV) in the hours or days after this exposure, we MAY be able to reduce the chance of the person becoming HIV positive.

 

The drugs need to be given as soon as possible of the exposure occurring. They are most effective if given within 24 hours and not likely to have any effect more than 72 hours after the exposure. The drugs must be taken for four weeks.

 

If you have been exposed to HIV through sex – by having unprotected sex with someone you KNOW to be HIV positive, PEPSE may be an option for you.

 

If you have sex with someone whose HIV status you DON’T KNOW, we are unlikely to recommend PEPSE.

 

Deciding whether to take PEPSE is a complicated issue and is done on a case-by-case basis. If you think you may need PEPSE, contact us straight away.

 

Blood to blood contact

 

HIV can also be transmitted through blood-to-blood contact. If we give antiretroviral drugs (ARVs –drugs that fight HIV) in the hours or days after an exposure, we MAY be able to reduce the chance of the person becoming HIV positive. Blood-to blood contact may occur when:

  • You share needles or injecting equipment with someone who is HIV positive.
  • You accidentally prick yourself with a needle used by someone who is HIV positive
  • RARELY when you are bitten by someone who has HIV


The drugs need to be given as soon as possible of the exposure occurring. They are most effective if given within 24 hours and not likely to have any effect more than 72 hours after the exposure. The drugs must be taken for four weeks.

 

If you have been exposed to HIV – by blood-to-blood contact with someone you KNOW to be HIV positive, PEP may be an option for you.

 

If you have had blood-to blood contact with someone whose HIV status you DON’T KNOW, we are unlikely to recommend PEP.

 

Deciding whether to take PEP is a complicated issue and is done on a case-by-case basis. If you think you may need PEP, contact us straight away.