What is PEP?
PEP stands for post-exposure prophylaxis. It's a 30 day course of drugs that is given to people who think they have recently been exposed to HIV.
I think I was exposed to HIV. Is there anything I can do about it now?
Yes, after having a known exposure to HIV, such as being topped by an HIV positive guy and then the condom breaks -- you can start PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis, which is a combination of anti-HIV medications.
The important thing is that these medications have to be started as soon as possible, within 72 hours after exposure. Most emergency rooms and doctors know about PEP and can prescribe it. It's not one dose -- you have to take meds for a month and they can make you ill -- so we don't recommend it except in real emergencies. And we certainly don't recommend anyone thinking of PEP as a 'morning after pill.'
PEP is usually not provided to people who have been exposed to HIV through oral sex. Oral sex carries a very, very low risk of HIV transmission.
Learn more about PEP and where to get it in San Francisco. Or, call the PEP Hotline: 415.487.5538.