What Is The Difference Between PEP And PrEP?

This article focuses on the difference between PEP and PrEP. PEP or Post Exposure Prophylaxis is an antiretroviral medicine that is taken after you have been exposed to HIV, to prevent you from getting the virus while PrEP or Pre Exposure Prophylaxis is an antiretroviral medicine taken by an individual who is HIV-negative before exposure to HIV.


PEP is a short-term treatment that is taken to reduce the chances or likelihood of getting HIV after exposure to the virus within the last 72 hours. It works by stopping the virus from multiplying after exposure to it.

It is highly effective if taken within 72 hours of exposure and should be taken daily for 28 days without missing a dose. In case you miss a dose, take the next dose as soon as you remember.

PEP Side effects 

Common side effects of PEP include fatigue, vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea and headache.


On the other hand, PrEP which stands for Pre Exposure Prophylaxis is an antiretroviral medicine which is taken by an individual who is HIV-negative prior to exposure to the virus. It is a tablet which is highly effective if used as prescribed. It should be taken once per day as prescribed by a doctor or clinician.

PrEP works by building a protective layer around the body cells. It, therefore, stops the virus from multiplying or establishing in the body.

PrEP Side Effects

Common side effects of PrEP include weight loss, headache, nausea, vomiting and abdominal discomfort.

The Main Difference  Between PEP and PrEP

The major distinction between the two is that PEP is taken within 72 hours after you have been exposed to HIV while PrEP is taken by an HIV-negative person prior to exposure to the virus.


PEP and PrEP drugs are not administered over the counter. You can get the drugs in public hospitals or private hospitals under the guidance of a medical practitioner.

Most public hospitals offer drugs for free, especially PEP. The drugs are available in private hospitals at a cost.

Check Out: 

Zack Abuyeka

I am the third eye.My duty is to keep you updated of the current trends and events happening round the globe.