You’ve contacted the DC PEP Hotline within 72 hours of your exposure, now what?
You’ll be connected to a medical provider, who will ask you some questions and have a safe, non-judgmental conversation about what happened. We’ll ask if you are taking any other medicines as we want to be sure there are no interactions with the PEP medications.
A prescription (5-day starter pack) will be sent electronically to a local Walgreens Pharmacy, which you can pick up for free. Or you can get a next business day appointment at the DC Health and Wellness Center, 77 P Street, NE, Washington, DC where you will get the 5-day starter pack and a prescription for the rest of the pills. You should take the medication immediately.
If you received a PEP starter pack, you’ll get a follow up appointment the next business day or Monday after the weekend at the DC Health & Wellness Center, 77 P Street, NE, Washington, DC. During your visit, you will talk with a medical provider about your health and get HIV and STD testing. You will be asked about any initial side affects you may have had while taking your 5-day starter pack.
You take PEP for a total of 28 days. A prescription for the remaining supply will be sent to your local pharmacy. You will not have to pay for the PEP medications. To avoid any interruption to PEP, fill your prescription as soon as possible and call the DC PEP Hotline at 202-299-3PEP (3737) if you have trouble getting your pills for any reason.
PEP is much more effective at stopping HIV if you take all the pills for the full 28 days. It is very important never to skip a dose. It is best to take your pills at the same time every day. If you’ve missed multiple doses, call the the DC PEP Hotline at 202-299-3PEP (3737) on how to best take your medicine daily.
Once you’ve completed your 28-day PEP medicine, you will be scheduled an appointment for an HIV test to check that you do not have HIV. There is no limit on using PEP. However, if you think you might need PEP often, you can consider PrEP – a daily pill that helps prevent HIV. You can start this immediately after finishing PEP or by calling the DC Health and Wellness Center at (202) 741-7692 or your medical provider.