PEP is an emergency 4-week course of medicine to prevent HIV infection. It is taken after recent exposure (within 72 hours) and works by stopping the virus from multiplying.
How does PEP work?
Who should take PEP?
PEP is for anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to HIV. Some of the most common reasons for needing PEP medication include:
• Having condomless anal sex
• If the condom breaks or slips off during sex with someone who has or may have HIV
• Sharing needles or syringes with a person who has or may have HIV
How can I start PEP?
Speak to a health care provider at our Center for Comprehensive Care, or at a primary care office, urgent care facility, a sexual health clinic, or emergency room. It is vital to do so as soon as possible after exposure.
Before prescribing PEP, your health care provider will ask questions about your possible exposure, and you will also need to get a rapid HIV Test since the treatment plan will be different if you are already HIV-positive.
How do I pay for PEP?
Most insurance providers and Medicaid will cover PEP.
If you do not have insurance, Patient Assistance Programs through the drug manufacturer can offer low-cost or no-cost medications to eligible individuals.
Does PEP have any side effects?
Yes, some people may experience side effects like diarrhea, nausea, headache, fatigue, and upset stomach. Speak with your health care provider about any severe or lingering side effects.
Can I take PEP if I’m pregnant?
Yes, you can still take PEP if you are pregnant. However, you should stop breastfeeding for three months after exposure. Speak with your health care provider about taking PEP while pregnant or breastfeeding.