PEP and PrEP are drugs which can prevent HIV.  They are both so-called HIV-inhibitors.  There are two kinds: 

  • PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) can be taken shortly after having an unsafe sexual contact which posed a significant risk of HIV
  • PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) can be taken beforehand to prevent an HIV infection.

What is PEP and how does it work?

PEP is a drug to be taken just after having an unsafe sexual contact which posed a significant risk of HIV. PEP lowers the risk of an HIV infection. It will however not reduce the risk to zero. The quicker the drug is taken, the higher the chance it will work.  PEP prevents the HIV virus from entering important cells, so the virus cannot survive.

Whom is PEP recommended for?

It is definitely not necessary to take PEP after every burst condom or after every unsafe sexual contact. PEP is only recommended when the risk of an HIV infection is high.  The risk will be assessed by a doctor by asking several questions, such as: what sexual contact have you had?  Anal sex for instance poses a higher risk than vaginal sex.  Was the client HIV positive?  Do you know whether he or she is being treated for HIV?  Was there any violence involved? 

How to take PEP?

PEP needs to be taken as soon as possible, preferably within 48 hours and latest 72 hours after the event. The sooner you start, the more efficient it is.  A PEP-treatment lasts 4 weeks.

Where to get PEP?

PEP can only be obtained from hospitals with an AIDS reference centre. Together with you, the doctors there will assess if you will qualify. The contact details of different AIDS reference centres can be found here. 

The Violett doctors are not able to give you the medication, but can help you by referring you.  If you have health insurance, PEP is reimbursed completely. If you don’t, it might be possible to check if you qualify for a medical card through the OCMW (the Public Centre for Social Welfare). 

If you had unsafe sex or if you are unsure whether you need to take PEP, call one of our doctors during opening hours or one of the local aids reference centres as soon as possible, so the risk of HIV can be assessed.  

What is PrEP and how does it work?

PrEP are drugs to be taken preventively to prevent HIV.  It does not protect against other STDs, so it does not replace a condom! PrEP prevents the virus from entering important body cells, so the virus cannot survive.

Who can be considered for PrEP?

Not all sex workers need PrEP.  If you work safely, it is definitely not necessary! PrEP is mainly to be considered for male and transgender sex worker, who do not have HIV and have regular sexual contact without a condom with men.

How to take PrEP?

PrEP can be taken in two ways:

For men and women: 1 tablet a day, always at the same time.
Only for men: a number of tablets following a strict schedule during a period of unsafe sex.
More practical information about the different schedules can be found on the website of the Institute of Tropical Medicine. 

Where to get PrEP?

PrEP can only be prescribed in (most) AIDS reference centres. A list with the different AIDS reference centres can be found here, AIDS reference centres. 

The doctors there will see you every 3 months to carry out several STD tests and to prescribe medication.  If you qualify for PrEP and you are covered by health insurance, you pay 11,90 euros for 30 tablets. If you do not have health insurance, our social workers can check with you if you qualify for a medical card through the OCMW (the Public Centre for Social Welfare).

If you think you qualify for PrEP, talk to one of our doctors or health carers. Together with you, we check if PrEp is suitable for you and how we can refer you!



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