Difference of PrEP & PEP?

31 May 2024
WRITTEN BY:pictureThanong A


You might have heard of PrEP and PEP before in this day and age, but some of you might wonder “What in the world is PrEP?”. We are here to make that clear to you! In a nutshell, PrEP and PEP are medicines that are used for HIV prevention. Unlike antiviral drugs for people living with HIV, PrEP and PEP are prescribed for people who don’t already have it but might be at risk of getting one.


PrEP and PEP became really popular means of HIV prevention due to their effectiveness. With over 80% success rate in preventing the infection. Thanks to the extensive research in HIV and AIDS of the past few decades. The fear and stigma of HIV were a thing of the past. We can help people with HIV to live a happy and healthy life, as well as keep the number of new cases down.


PrEP or PEP?

Both PrEP and PEP work similarly in the sense that they could help save you from getting HIV at all if you happen to get in contact with one. However, they are slightly different when it comes to how and who should take them. PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is the medicine prescribed for you to take BEFORE you come in contact with the potential risk of HIV. On the other hand, PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) is prescribed within 72 hours for people who suspect they might have already come into contact with HIV.


Who should take PrEP?

To put it simply, anyone who does not already have HIV infection and is at risk of being in contact with one should take PrEP. Taking once daily, they could significantly help reduce the number of new HIV cases in the past few years. Let’s keep that number going down!


What about PEP?

Unlike PrEP, PEP acts as another layer of protection for people who aren’t already on PrEP. Let’s say you have sex with a condom on and somehow it broke. Getting PEP prescribed within 3 days and then taking it for 28 days after the accident is proven to be 80% effective in preventing HIV. It does not guarantee to prevention of HIV infection, but it is still a really good tool to help reduce the risk of HIV.


Does this mean PrEP is a miracle drug that protects me from STDs?

No! Though PrEP and PEP are really effective in HIV prevention, even far more than condoms in some studies. They don’t have any effect in helping prevent any other STDs. You can still catch other infections from your sexual partners while taking PrEP.


Where can I get PrEP?

PrEP has become more accessible in the past few years. You should be able to get the prescription for PrEP at any STD clinic near you. However, please note that you cannot just walk in and “buy” PrEP. The process of getting PrEP prescriptions also includes getting a blood test to avoid any complications from possible infections. Taking PrEP then is also a good really good way for you to have a routine blood test for any possible STDs.