If you think you may have been exposed to HIV through unprotected sex, or if a condom tears or slips off during anal sex, there is a treatment option available that may prevent HIV infection.
Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) involves taking a combination of anti-HIV drugs for four weeks to prevent the HIV infection from taking hold in the body.
You must begin PEP within 72 hours (3 days) of the exposure to HIV–the earlier treatment starts the better.
PEP is available only by prescription from hospital Accident and Emergency (A&E) Departments, and some sexual health and STI clinics. Not everyone who asks for it will be prescribed PEP. There are guidelines for prescribing and each person is assessed based on their potential risk of exposure to HIV.
If you and/or your partner find yourselves in such a situation, seek medical advice as soon as possible.
See the section on PEP for more information and where to go for advice and assistance.
Whether you avail of PEP or not you should get tested for STIs if you had sex and the condom broke. Getting tested will help you know for sure if you have an STI, even if there are no symptoms. Find out where you can get tested here.