What is the difference between PEP and PrEP?

PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a prevention method used by people who are HIV-negative. When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medications continuously work to prevent HIV infection. PrEP is meant to be taken every day for however long the individual wants this method of prevention against HIV. PrEP is only offered as a prescription. Individuals can cease their PrEP regimen or reengage whenever they find it necessary. The “pre” in pre-exposure prophylaxis means the medication is taken before the potential exposure. PrEP protects you against HIV only, so make sure you continue to test for other STIs while taking PrEP

PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) refers to the use of antiretroviral drugs for people who are HIV-negative after a single high-risk exposure to stop HIV infection. PEP must be started as soon as possible to be effective – always within 72 hours of a possible exposure – and continued for 4 weeks. The “post” in post-exposure prophylaxis means the medication is taken after the potential exposure.

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