Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is an emergency intervention that prevents transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which is available in Ireland. This could be after sexual or needle-stick exposure to HIV.
PEP is a 28-day (4 weeks) course of medication that prevents the virus from establishing itself in the bloodstream. It must be taken as soon as possible, but within 72 hours (3 days) after possible exposure to HIV.
It is available after an assessment by a healthcare professional via several STI clinics and Emergency Departments (ED) nationwide. ED visits should be reserved for urgent medical attention or where it is not possible to obtain PEP from a local STI clinic within 72 hours.
Early recognition of potential exposures, swift initiation of PEP, and continued efforts in promoting safe practices are all crucial in combatting HIV transmission and improving public health outcomes. If you suspect you have recently been exposed to HIV, sexualwellbeing.ie has a list of STI clinics where PEP is available. PEP is free in Ireland.
At Debunking the Myths, our team of infectious disease experts actively debunk the myths and stigmas surrounding STIs. Through open dialogue, education, and outreach programmes, we strive to promote understanding, foster a supportive environment and empower individuals to seek information, testing, and treatment without fear of judgment.