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nPEP Myths and Facts Flyer

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Non-occupational Post-Exposure Prophylaxis

When started within 3 days of a potential exposure, nPEP is a safe and proven standard for prevention of HIV infection. See the AETC NCRC nPEP Prescribers Guide for assessment and treatment details.

Myth: There’s no rush

Fact: Sooner is better    

To be most effective, nPEP should be started as soon as possible after the exposure, but generally not later than 72 hours after the exposure. Ideally, the first dose should be taken within 1-2 hours after the exposure.. 

Myth: It requires special training    

Fact: Any prescriber can manage nPEP    

Medical providers (MD, DO, NP, PA, PharmD) with prescribing authority can initiate nPEP and provide follow-up care.

Myth: The medications are toxic    

Fact: Today’s medications are well tolerated    

ARV medications currently used for nPEP are well-tolerated, have milder side effects than former regimens, and are highly effective if used as recommended. In general, the benefit of nPEP as an HIV prevention method far outweighs the risk of possible medication related side effects.

Myth: It’s expensive    

Fact: There are assistance programs for most patients    

Although nPEP medications are expensive, they can be obtained at no cost for most patients regardless of insurance status. These programs are easy to access, and eligible individuals are often approved immediately. 

Myth: It’s an urban issue    

Fact: HIV is an issue everywhere    

The decision to use nPEP should be based on the acquisition risk and not on the HIV prevalence in a specific region. 

Myth: It encourages risky behavior    

Fact: You can offer HIV prevention options for people with ongoing risk factors    

If someone uses nPEP multiple times, and/or is at ongoing risk for acquiring HIV, discuss starting pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) after completion of nPEP. 

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