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HIV Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)

What is HIV PEP / HIV Prevention / HIV Post Exposure Prophylaxis?

HIV PEP or HIV Prevention / Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is the use of antiretroviral (ARV) medications to prevent or to stop the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from entering and infecting the body after exposure.

Antiretroviral (ARV) medications or antiretroviral therapy (ART) has become the standard of care for healthcare workers who have had accidental occupational exposure to HIV for e.g. needlestick injuries or contact of mucous membrane or exposed skin to potentially infectious material such as blood or bodily fluids.

Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) has also been offered to people who have had non-occupational exposure to HIV for e.g. sexual exposure or injection drug use.

Examples of situations where PEP may be required:
  • occupational exposures ( healthcare workers, law enforcement officers, prison officers etc. )
  • unprotected sex with high risk partners eg. commercial sex workers, IV drug users, known HIV-infected persons
  • condom slips or condom breaks with high risk partners
  • rape victims

The ideal time period to start PEP is within 24 hours from exposure, although it has been shown to be useful up to 72 hours post-exposure.

If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, do come down and consult our doctors immediately.
When to start HIV PEP / HIV Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)?

HIV PEP should be started as soon as possible after exposure up to 72 hours. The earlier HIV PEP is started, the more effective it is in preventing HIV transmission and infection.

How long to take HIV PEP for? What is the treatment regime?

HIV Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) regime involves taking a combination of different aniretroviral(ARV) medications used to treat HIV infection for one month. 

For exposures to contacts with unknown HIV status, we prescribe a 2-drug combination regime for one month.

For exposures to contacts with known HIV status, we prescribe a 3-drug combination regime for one month.

What are the side effects of HIV PEP?

We use the latest generation of antiretroviral drugs which are much better tolerated than older generation PEP drugs with minimal side effects.

Older generation PEP medications tend to cause nausea, diarrhea, fatigue or malaise. Rarely, there may be blood abnormalities which should resolve after the medications are stopped or completed.

What to do before starting HIV PEP?

Prior to starting HIV PEP, baseline blood tests will be done to make sure that your blood count, liver and kidneys are functioning normally and that your HIV status is currently negative.

What to do while on HIV PEP?

While on HIV PEP, do not take any other medications without first consulting the doctor. Do not stop the HIV PEP without first consulting the doctor. If you cannot tolerate the side effects, return to consult the doctor.

What to do after HIV PEP?

After 1 month of medications, follow-up blood tests will be done to make sure that your blood count, liver and kidneys are functioning normally. A HIV test will be done at 1 month post-exposure and 3 month post-exposure.

Other HIV screening tests can also be done at 10 days and 28 days post-exposure.

You may also consider testing for other sexually transmitted infections at 14 days and 28 days post exposure. We provide STD testing, screening and STD treatment services.

How much does HIV PEP cost?

HIV PEP treatment is available at our clinic.

For the 2-drug combination, the cost is SGD$1050 for one month.

For the 3-drug combination, the cost is SGD$1800 for one month. 

Other costs include:

Consultation fees - $30 to $80

Baseline HIV test - $85 (recommended)

Baseline liver and kidney function tests - $70 (optional)

All prices subject to prevailing GST. 

if you are not sure if you require HIV PEP treatment, please call 6288 4882 or SMS 9295 9585 for appointment or email