Unfortunately, as of yet there is no effective vaccine for HIV to protect healthy people from getting infected. But in certain cases ARV drugs can be used preventively to provide protection against HIV.
PEP (post exposure prophylaxis)
This is a short course of ARV therapy after high-risk exposure to reduce and/or avoid the risk of HIV transmission. PEP is used, for instance, in the event of unprotected intercourse with a partner who has HIV or who exhibits risk behaviour and is not sure of their status.
PEP must be started within less than 72 hours. Otherwise the treatment will be significantly less effective. Prophylaxis means combined ARV drugs that must be taken daily for 28 days. You will have to see an infectious disease doctor to get a prescription.
PEP is only prescribed in emergency situations. PEP is not intended for regular use.
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis)
PrEP means taking ARV drugs for a long time to prevent getting infected with HIV where there is a risk of direct exposure. PrEP is intended for people at high risk for HIV, such as men who have sex with men with many casual partners. PrEP means combined ARV drugs.
Once you start with PrEP you will have to take PrEP regularly every day to protect yourself from getting infected. PrEP does not provide 100% protection and it does not protect against sexually transmitted infections. So always use a condom with PrEP and get regularly tested for STIs.
For more information make an appointment with an infectious disease doctor!