What is non-occupational post-exposure prophylaxis (nPEP)?
Prophylaxis is a medical intervention designed to prevent disease. So, post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV is a medical intervention designed to prevent HIV infection after exposure to the virus. Prophylaxis for HIV is only available with a prescription.
Who should receive nPEP?
nPEP is strongly recommended for anyone who has had unprotected receptive vaginal or anal intercourse or who has shared an IV needle with an HIV-infected partner or with a partner whose HIV status is unknown. nPEP is rarely recommended for the insertive ("top") partner or for oral sex.
Is nPEP a "morning after" pill?
No. nPEP is a medical intervention that involves taking medication, usually twice a day, for 28 days. nPEP patients should expect laboratory tests and follow-up visits at 2 weeks, 4-6 weeks, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks post-exposure. In other words, nPEP is not a substitute for safer sex.
What about sex during nPEP?
Use condoms until your final follow-up visit at 6 months post-exposure. nPEP is not guaranteed to work and you could put your partner(s) at risk of contracting HIV. Also, you may put yourself at risk of a new HIV exposure. Again, nPEP is not a substitute for safer sex.
You can get more information by calling The CFA's nPEP warmline at 713.936.1030.
nPEP is under study in Houston as part of a privately-funded collaboration between The CFA and the University of Texas Medical School. Individuals who meet study criteria for nPEP will be referred to a physician at UT Medical.
If you believe you've had an occupational exposure to HIV, you should promptly notify your employer for appropriate evaluation and follow-up.