Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)

What is PEP?

PEP is a way to stop HIV infection after a possible exposure –  for example, if a condom breaks, if you have been sexually assaulted, or if you had unprotected sex and are unsure of the status of your partner.

You must start PEP within 72 hours after the exposure for it to be effective. You should come in for PEP as soon as possible after an exposure.

PEP medication must be taken for approximately a month (28 days) consecutively after the exposure.

Do I need PEP?

If you believe you may have been exposed to HIV, you should consider taking PEP to prevent infection.

Here are some cases when you may want PEP:

  • A condom breaks during sex
  • You forget to use a condom during sex
  • A partner finds out/discloses they are HIV positive after you have had unprotected sex
  • You share a needle or syringe with someone to inject drugs or hormones
  • You get “stuck” by a needle at your job that was used on someone else
  • You experience sexual assault

If you want to talk to someone about whether you need PEP, call us at (212) 271-7200

How can I access PEP?

You do not have to be a patient at Callen-Lorde to get PEP. Find our walk-in PEP service hours here. Your visit must be within 72 hours of the potential exposure. It can take up to 2-3 hours to get PEP at Callen-Lorde.

Do I need insurance? How do I pay for it?

While most insurances cover PEP, there are different support programs available for uninsured, underinsured, and insured patients. For insured, and underinsured patients, there are a range of support co-pay cards (Gilead, Merck, VIIV Connect, Patient Advocate Foundation). Uninsured patients may qualify for Gilead’s MAP which covers cost of medication (click here for details). NYC operates a hotline, which assist patients regardless of insurance status have access to a PEP starter pack and help you link to a provider to receive the rest of your treatment. The hotline is 844-3-PEPNYC (click here for details).

I am a patient but Callen-Lorde is closed. What do I do?

It’s important to start PEP as soon as possible after exposure. You can get PEP at your local emergency room if Callen-Lorde is closed. You can also go to this website and enter your zip code to find all the clinics/hospitals near you that provide PEP.

Are the side effects bad?

PEP often doesn’t cause any side effects in people who take it. The most common side effects are indigestion, nausea, gas, or bloating, but they usually go away within a couple of days. If are worried about side effects, please call us at (212) 271-7200.