AFAO Health Promotion Officer, Sean Slavin, blogs live from CROI 2015:
Amidst all the excitement at #CROI2015 about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a session this afternoon on post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) - 'PEP: Remember Me?' - was an important reminder that this prevention technology should not be forgotten.
PEP involves taking a month of anti-HIV drugs after a suspected exposure to HIV. In Australia it is only recommended for 'high risk' events, including condomless intercourse with a known HIV positive partner or condomless homosexual intercourse with a partner whose status is unknown.
Obtaining and starting the medications as soon as possible and no longer than 72 hours after the suspected exposure is crucial. PEP has been available in Australia for well over a decade.
While participants in the session discussed the advantages and disadvantages of various drug combinations they all agreed that ongoing provision of PEP and optimization of its delivery was a crucial element of HIV prevention.
While PEP might be old news, it has one important advantage over PrEP at the moment - it's currently available.
View PEP abstracts at CROI 2015
Dr Carole Khaw's reflections on the PEP session for ASHM
Where to access PEP in Australia