HIV risk (PEPSE)

PEPSE (post exposure prophylaxis for HIV following sexual exposure) may significantly reduce your risk of being infected with HIV after high risk sexual exposure.

For example, if you have had unprotected sex or a condom failure with someone:

– who is known to be HIV positive

– at high risk of being HIV positive

    • The sooner PEPSE is started the much more likely it is to work. You should seek advice regarding PEPSE as soon as possible and within 24hours. It can be offered up to 72 hours but there is little evidence that it will be effective. Please call Sefton Sexual Health Service on 01695 656550 for any inquiries.
    • PEPSE is available from Sefton Sexual Health Service. Please phone 01695 656550 to check clinic location and availability. It is also available at any A&E Department.
    • When you attend the clinic/A&E the doctor will take some details from you to assess your risk and prescribe PEPSE according to nationally agreed guidelines.
    • You will need a baseline HIV test and routine blood tests to check your general health.
    • You will also be checked for Hepatitis B and offered Hepatitis B vaccine.
    • If you are a woman you may need emergency contraception.
    • PEPSE consists of 4 weeks therapy with antiretroviral medication or HAART.
    • Treatment is usually Truvada one tablet once daily and Raltegravir one tablet twice daily.
    • You need to complete the 4 week course.
    • You will need a STI screen 2 weeks later.
    • . You may need to complete a course of Hepatitis B vaccines.
    • You will need a final HIV test 3 months after the possible contact with HIV took place. (An intermediate HIV test can be done 1 month after finishing PEPSE).
    • It is important to either abstain or use condoms until you have received this final HIV test result.

There is more information on our patient information leaflet which you can download here


For more information please see Living with HIV.

A fast track referral form is also available in the section professionals only referral forms and downloads.