RHAC’S PrEP Clinic has launched the PEP-In-your-Pocket (PIP) service. Like the PrEP Clinic, this service is by-appointment only and offered on every other Friday per month. PEP (Post-exposure Prophylaxis) is not the same thing as PrEP. While PrEP is taken daily on an ongoing basis to prevent HIV, PEP is a short-term treatment for people after exposure to HIV. For example, PrEP may be a better option for someone who is HIV-negative and enjoys condomless sex or has a sex partner who is HIV-positive.
PEP is a way to prevent HIV transmission by taking HIV medications as soon as possible after potential exposure to HIV. PEP must be started within 72 hours of the possible exposure—the sooner the better. To be effective, PEP medication needs to be taken as prescribed over the course of 28 days, with no further exposure to HIV while taking PEP. If the PEP medication is not taken consistently, there may not be enough medication in the body to block HIV.
PEP is for emergency situations. Typically, one would go to the emergency department for PEP after a potential exposure (via sharing injection drug equipment, sex, or sexual assault). PEP-In-Your-Pocket (PIP) is a good fit for people who may find themselves at increased risk of HIV transmission. For example, if a person who uses injection drugs is concerned about a potential exposure to HIV, they could already have their PEP in advance for an emergency situation (i.e. possible HIV exposure through a shared needle). In other words, with PEP-In-your-Pocket you are prepared for an emergency.
There are many coverage options for PEP that our clinic can help navigate. This includes but is not limited to the following: OHIP+ (for people under age 24 or over age 65), The Ontario Drug Benefit, Ontario Disability Support Program, and Non-Insured Health Benefit. PEP may also be covered by some insurance plans.
Please be aware that the PrEP Clinic does not currently provide emergency PEP, it only provides PIP provided in advance of an HIV exposure. If a client believes they may have already been exposed to HIV and is interested in PEP due to an emergency, they should go to the hospital emergency room.
If interested please contact Kody at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519.434.1601 ext. 250. If you have questions about PEP-In-your-Pocket, get in contact with us today.