How to Get PEP in Toronto

 

You can prevent HIV infection after exposure

Sometimes stuff just happens. Don't despair. But time is of the essence and every hour counts.

If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, and you're not on PrEP, taking PEP can prevent HIV infection when taken within 72 hours of exposure. Research suggests that taking PEP within 24 to 48 hours is ideal. The sooner you start PEP, the more effective the treatment will be. PEP is not be effective when taken after 72 hours after exposure.

If you've been on PEP at least once in the last year, think about starting PrEP to prevent HIV infection more proactively.

Below you'll find information on the difference between PrEP and PEP, a step-by-step on what to do in case you need PEP, and a short video about PEP. 


What's the difference between PrEP & PEP?

PrEP is a medication you take proactively to prevent HIV. It is a pill you take every day. PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis.

PEP is medication you take to prevent HIV after you think you may have been exposed to the virus, within 72 hours, and sooner (within 24 to 48 hours) for maximum effectiveness. You will need to take PEP every day for about a month. PEP stands for post-exposure prophylaxis.


How to get PEP in Toronto Step-by-Step

If you think you've been exposed to HIV and you're not on PrEP, time is of the essence.

You must start taking PEP as soon as possible after your exposure, to help prevent HIV infection. Research has shown that the sooner you start PEP after exposure, ideally within 24 to 48 hours, the greater the chance that you'll prevent HIV infection. PEP is not effective when taken after 72 hours of exposure.

Step-by-step for PEP treatment in Toronto:

  1. As soon as you realize you may have been exposed to HIV, go to the emergency department at a hospital nearest you, as soon as possible, ideally within 24 to 48 hours. The sooner the better. 
  2. Be prepared to share details of how you think you were exposed with the medical staff. Bring along a trusted friend or family member for moral support if you can. 
     
  3. Your doctor will require you to take some tests. Based on the results, your doctor may recommend you get a prescription for PEP medications. 
    • The Hospital will give you a 2-day supply of PEP medications, and a prescription for PEP.
    • If it's the weekend, start taking your PEP medication right away, as directed by the physician at the hospital.
       
  4. Get your prescriptions filled as soon as you can. You can use The Village Pharmacy app to make things easier. Send us your prescription via the app, or call us at 416-967-9221. We have PEP meds in stock always and we will answer any questions you might have about taking PEP.  The Village Pharmacy is open Monday to Friday 10am to 7pm and Saturday 10am to 6pm. 
     
  5. Take all your medication as prescribed, usually about 28 days in total.

Once things have settled down, you may consider talking to your doctor about starting PrEP, to give you consistent protection from HIV infection.

If you have any questions about PEP or insurance coverage, get in touch with us at The Village Pharmacy or message us on Facebook at @thevillagepharm. We're here to help.


What if its been more than 72 hours since I think I was exposed to HIV?

If its been longer than 72 hours and you're worried you may have been exposed to HIV, get to an HIV doctor or HIV testing clinic right away and get tested for HIV. 

There is a 'window period' between the time you were infected and when an HIV test result shows positive. The window period can last anytime from 10 days to 3 months, and the results of an HIV test depends on the person, and the test being used.  During this window period, HIV is easily transmitted to a sexual partner, and you may be at higher risk for STIs.  If you're not sure of your HIV status, you could take a break, or if you do have sex, its good practice to use condoms during this time.


Extra Support & Counselling

If you need personal counselling on a possible exposure, PEP, your HIV status and next steps, use these excellent resources:

AIDS and Sexual Health InfoLine & eChat - call 1-800-668-2437 or eChat

Hassle Free Clinic - call the clinic at: 416-922-0566 

ACToronto Counselling - To book an appointment call 416-340-2437 or visit their office at 543 Yonge Street, on the 4th floor


Resources 

Get more information on PEP from these trusted Canadian resources:

PEP Q & A by ACT (AIDS Committee of Toronto)

PEP Fact Sheet, by CATIE (Canada's Source for HIV & HepC Information)


The difference between PrEP & PEP

Dr. Demetre explains the difference between PrEP -- PRE-exposure prophylaxis -- and PEP -- POST exposure prophylaxis. The second installment of #AskTheHIVDoc, the popular Greater Than AIDS Youtube series in which top HIV doctors answer your questions.