If you believe that you have been exposed to HIV within the last 72 hours, you may still in time to stop the virus from settling in your body.
Post-exposure Prophylaxis is a 28-day treatment which must be initiated within 72hours after possible exposure to HIV – The earlier one starts the treatment, the higher the effectiveness of the medication. It comes in a combination of three medications to be taken as instructed by the clinician.
What is classified as possible exposure to the virus?
with the highest risk being receptive anal sex with ejaculation with a partner of unknown HIV status.
Sharing injection drug equipment.
There are a number of practices which one might consider to be high risk but in fact are not:
When the source is HIV positive but on effective treatment with an undetectable viral load (Undetectable = Untransmittable- more information about U=U will be provided in future blog posts)
Fellatio (oral sex) with ejaculation.
When the sexual partner you have been with is on PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis)
If you believe that you have been exposed to HIV, you can access PEP by calling the GU clinic between Monday and Friday on +00356 21227981 where you will be given an urgent appointment.
If you would like to access PEP outside clinic hours (weekdays afternoon and on the weekend), you can do so at the Emergency Department at Mater Dei Hospital.
GETTING ACCESS PEP IS YOUR RIGHT! IF A DOCTOR AT THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT DOES NOT KNOW WHAT PEP IS, ASK TO SEE ANOTHER DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY.
P.S. Unfortunately, as things stand, getting PEP in Malta can set you back over 500EURO for the x28day treatment. This is something which we should push for a change. In most countries PEP is available for free, as it should be.
UK Guidelines for the use of HIV Post-Exposure Prophylaxis Following Sexual Exposure (PEPSE) 2015 https://www.bashh.org/documents/PEPSE%202015%20guideline%20final_NICE.pdf