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PEP = Post-Exposure Prophylaxis Prophylaxis = Prevention


PEP is an emergency medication that can prevent HIV infection if started as soon as possible, within 36 hours but not beyond 72 hours, after potential exposure to HIV.

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  • PEP stops HIV exposure from becoming an HIV infection.

  • To prevent HIV, take PEP as prescribed for 28 days.​

If you think you were exposed to HIV, call the NYC PEP hotline at 


(844-373-7692), or immediately go to your local healthcare provider or emergency room and ask for PEP.

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Ask your health care provider or pharmacist how to take your pills. There are different drug combinations for PEP. You may need to take some pills once a day and some pills twice a day.

To help you remember:

• Keep your pill bottles where you can see them.

• Take PEP before or after a daily activity, like eating breakfast or brushing your teeth.

• Set daily reminders to take PEP on your phone or watch.

To receive texts that remind you text MEDS to 877877.

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PEP starter packs:

You may be given a “starter pack” of pills for the first few days of PEP. You may have to fill a prescription for the rest of the 28 days. To avoid any interruption to PEP, fill your prescription as soon as possible and let the prescribing clinic know if you have trouble getting
your pills for any reason.

Not sure about staying on PEP?

Do not stop taking PEP without talking to your health

care provider.

• If you cannot afford to pay for PEP, tell your provider. They may be able to help you get financial assistance.

Keep your PEP with you:

Always carry a daily dose of your PEP in a small pill box or wrapped in tinfoil. This way, if you miss your routine, you will still have PEP and can keep on schedule.

  • Speak to your health care provider if side effects continue to bother you.

  • To prevent nausea, take PEP with a snack or before bed to make nausea less noticeable.

  • To relieve nausea, try ginger candy or peppermint tea.

  • For gas or bloating try an over-the-counter gas reliever.

  • If soft stools bother you, try a fiber supplement.

 PEP can cause mild side effects, including nausea, upset stomach, fatigue, and headaches. These symptoms often get better or go away after the first week of taking PEP.


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PEP is an effective prevention option for transgender women and will not interfere with hormone therapy.


PEP and Reproductive Health

  • If you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or are breastfeeding, PEP may still be used to prevent HIV. Your PEP prescriber can discuss any safety concerns with an HIV expert.

  • PEP will not interfere with hormonal birth control, including emergency contraception.

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