How do I ask for PEP?

A quick self-advocacy guide for Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)

So, you think you need PEP for a potential HIV exposure? That’s okay. You got this. Take a deep breath.

You’ve got 72 hours after potential exposure to get on PEP but the sooner the better.

The first thing you need to do is head to an Emergency Room, A&E, local sexual health clinic or GP (depending on the time of day).

When you get there you’re going to need to let the clinical team (this will be the nurse or admins that assess who gets seen next) know that you think you have been exposed to HIV and need to be given PEP within 72 hours, but ideally sooner.

There is a chance that the first person you talk to may not know much about PEP. Don’t panic. You’re just going to need to help them help you.

Here’s a bit of a script for what you can say to advocate for yourself if you’re not sure how to word it.

“I may have been exposed to HIV and need to be given a course of emergency post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) within the next 72 hours – but earlier for the best results. PEP is funded for people at elevated risk of HIV and is able to be prescribed by all relevant prescribers.”

Once you are being seen by a healthcare provider you can ask them to check the processes for providing PEP on Community Health Pathways. This is the system healthcare providers check to learn what to do in specific situations - each region should have a specific local pathway.


Once you have a prescription, the next thing you need to do is closely follow the instructions of the prescriber.

It’s important to know, that PEP is not one pill, but a course of anti-HIV drugs taken over a period of four weeks.  You must take all of your prescribed doses to make sure the medication is as effective as it can be.

Your prescriber will let you know what the next steps are.


If your prescriber needs some convincing

We have partnered with the NZSHS (NZ Sexual Health Service) to develop a standardised letter that you can download and take to your doctor, and this may help help with the conversation if you're worried about it. 

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