Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)


PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis, is a course of daily medications that an HIV-negative person takes for 28 days AFTER a possible exposure to HIV if they weren't taking PrEP or missed taking PrEP as prescribed. PEP is more effective the sooner it’s started, and must be started within 72 hours of the exposure.

You may benefit from PEP if, within the past 72 hours, you have been exposed to the pre-semen (pre-cum), semen (cum), vaginal fluid, rectal fluid, or blood from someone with an unknown HIV status, or someone who has HIV and you don't know if they are undetectable

A clinical provider must prescribe PEP. During regular office hours, ask your provider or go to a sexual health clinic. During off hours, go to an urgent care or emergency room. Many pharmacies can fill the prescription, but consider a backup pharmacy just in case.

For more information, download: PEP info sheet.

If your provider doesn’t know about PEP, refer them to the federal PEP Guidelines or the national PEPline. The national PEPline is only available to clinicians who need guidance on how to prescribe PEP. 

Most insurance covers the cost and patient assistance programs are available to those who are uninsured or under-insured.


PEP 101 - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

PrEP vs. PEP -