You down with P.E.P...

Updated: Apr 30, 2019

So I'm closing out Sexual Assault Month and STD Awareness Month with Naughty by Nature (not really) by empowering black women to take control of their sexual health by getting immediate STD screenings following any concerning sexual activity, but especially after sexual assault. Even though there is no 100% guaranteed way to prevent being raped (despite all of the rape prevention info out there), there is medication that can at least allow you to take control of your own sexual health.

Previously, I've discussed Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP which is the daily pill designed to prevent HIV before the actual exposure happens (click here to revisit the PrEP blog post). In an emergency situation, Post-Exposure Prophylaxis or PEP is an antiretroviral medication (medication taken by people living with HIV/AIDS) after potentially being exposed to HIV to prevent from being infected. Anyone in need of PEP have up to 72 hours (3 days) to access it which means the earlier the better. For example, if you've been sexually assaulted on Friday, you have until the following Monday to access PEP. Depending on the medication chosen by your health care provider, you will be taking PEP in the form of one or two pills for about 28 days.

Who should take PEP?

If within 72 hours (3 days) the following has happened:

- Had condom-less sex with someone living with HIV/AIDS (This includes anyone who are even rumored to be living with HIV/AIDS).

- Been sexually assaulted

- Had condom-less sex with someone of unknown HIV status (This means you did not ask about their HIV status nor the last time they have been tested for HIV).

- Exposed to HIV during your health care job duties

What are the side effects of PEP?

PEP has very little side effects including nausea that are not life-threatening and can be easily treated.

Where can I get PEP?