Orange County PEP Treatment for HIV Prevention

For more than 30 years, Radiant Health Centers has provided support for people living with HIV in Irvine and across Orange County. Our LGBTQ+ medical clinic offers a range of care and treatment options, including preventative measures like HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Under the right conditions, PEP is a vital treatment for preventing HIV contraction in those most at risk. Contact our medical professionals if you believe you have been exposed to HIV.

What Is PEP?

PEP is a course of HIV antiretroviral medicine taken after potential exposure to HIV. HIV-negative individuals can take the medication within 72 hours of the potential exposure and significantly reduce their chances of contracting the virus. PEP medication must be taken daily for a total of 28 days.

Why Is PEP Important?

PEP is used as an emergency treatment for potential HIV exposure. The treatment works by killing infected cells before they can continue multiplying and taking over the immune system. In such a time-sensitive situation, accessing the post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment as soon as possible increases the effectiveness of the drugs. The first dose of PEP must be taken within 72 hours of a known or potential exposure

While PEP is appropriate for emergency single exposure cases, it should not be used in place of HIV prevention methods or for those who are regularly at risk of HIV exposure. For individuals who have repeated exposure to HIV, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is recommended.

Who Can Benefit From PEP?

Any individual who has had a possible single exposure to HIV could benefit from PEP. Following are some of the most common reasons to use this treatment option.

  • Following sex with a person living with HIV
  • If you have shared needles or syringes
  • After a sexual assault
  • After experiencing a needlestick injury

Shortly after starting the 28-day treatment, Radiant Health Centers will conduct HIV testing, STI testing and can also provide counseling services. It may be necessary to undergo additional testing to confirm the individual’s HIV status following PEP treatment.

Common Questions About PEP

Are there any side effects to PEP?

As with any medication, side effects are possible. HIV medications used or PEP are usually well tolerated but side effects may occur. Common side effects include fatigue, headaches, diarrhea, bloating, vomiting and nausea. Contact our medical professionals if your symptoms do not improve or significantly deteriorate.

How effective is PEP?

PEP is very effective in preventing infection after a potential exposure to HIV virus. However, treatment must begin within 72 hours of the potential exposure. Early treatment increases the likelihood of a successful outcome. Additional support is also available through our counseling services – provided to the LGBTQ+ community regardless of HIV status.

What are the drugs used in PEP?

PEP requires individuals to take three drugs over 28 days. Some examples of regimens used are: Truvada and Isentress, Truvada and Tivicay, and Biktarvy. Our providers will consult with you what the best PEP option is or you.

Fast PEP Treatment Can Prevent HIV Infection

If you have been exposed to HIV, it is important to seek immediate treatment. At Radiant Health Centers, our medical professionals help administer PEP treatment to reduce the chances of contracting HIV. Call the medical clinic now at (949) 809-5700 or request an appointment online.

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