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Sexual health and LGBT population
Living with HIV
Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
In the real world, it is possible that an event may occur (primarily via sexual contact) whereby your sexual partner is exposed to the risk of transmission of HIV. When a condom breaks during sex, there is the moment of panic…understandably so! Currently, the use of Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is offered in the event of a "high-risk" event. The approach is similar to the approach used when a health care provider is exposed via a contaminated needle in the work place. The goal is to prevent HIV infection.
In theory, when HIV enters the human body, it remains circulating free in the blood for several days (24-72 hours) prior to its insertion into body reservoirs (lymph nodes, brain, testicles, etc.) PEP is initiated with the intention of PREVENTING HIV from integrating itself into the body and setting up a chronic infection. This is NOT a morning-after-pill, but a carefully selected combination of three medications taken for a full MONTH. This concept is still under research and should not be considered a guarantee in the prevention of HIV infection.
While not a guarantee, it is important to know that PEP exists, that there is something that can be done and that may serve to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV when a risk event occurs.