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Post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is used as a treatment for people who may have been exposed to HIV.  This includes people who have had unprotected sex (referred to as PEPSE or post exposure prophylaxis for sexual exposure), shared drug injecting equipment or healthcare workers who may have been exposed to the virus (e.g. through needle stick injury).

When HIV first gets into someone’s bloodstream, it can take time before the virus permanently infects them.  PEP can prevent this happening, but it is important to act quickly.

In order to be effective, PEP needs to be given within 72 hours of the possible exposure to HIV, although it has a better chance of working and preventing HIV infection if treatment is started within 24 hours.

In mid-Nottinghamshire, PEP is available from a number of services:

  • The Hub at King’s Mill Hospital - click here for opening times
  • Emergency Department, Kings Mill Hospital  or  Minor Injuries Unit, Newark Hospital
    (advice and “starter packs” are available at weekends and bank holidays in order to access PEP within the recommended 72 hours of exposure)
  • Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for victims of rape (

The medical staff will determine whether you are eligible for PEP by discussing how you think you may have been exposed to HIV.  If you are eligible, you will be asked to come into the hospital for review, some blood test and to commence treatment. You will need to remain on treatment for four weeks, and will need to attend the hospital for check-ups and blood tests during this period, and several months after exposure.

You will also be monitored for side effects since PEP can make you feel sick and give you diarrhoea.


For further information regarding PEP, please visit the National AIDS Manual (NAM) website by clicking here