HIV Exposure Hotline
If you have been exposed to HIV within the last 72 hours, it is not too late to get help that will possibly prevent a deadly HIV infection. With recent drug advances, an HIV infection can be stopped with PEP medications if doses start within the critical 72 hour time window. Call a doctor or an emergency room now to get help as soon as possible.
PL-AIDS has a toll free number that will connect you to an HIV Doctor now: 1-401-460-AIDS(2437)
* The number listed is a pager number, so please call and a doctor will call back immediately
Alternatively, if you think you have been exposed to HIV and do not wish to call our hotline for help, you may submit an online form to provide us with more information relevant to your potential exposure. Please note that while every effort is made to respond to email inquiries submitted in this manner, for immediate concerns, please dial the pager directly.
What is PEP?
PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) are medications that, if taken less than 72 hours after exposure to HIV and continued for 28 days, may reduce your risk of later testing HIV positive. PEP is not a replacement for safer sex and PEP may require follow-up HIV testing and doctor’s visits.
When do I use PEP?
You would potentially use PEP if in the past 72 hours you have had a sexual or drug experience that has involved unsafe vaginal or anal sex, a condom breaking, semen (cum) in your eye, sharing needles, or forgetting to use a condom for vaginal or anal sex. If any of these situations has occurred and your sexual partner has HIV or you don’t know if he or she has HIV, you too might be at risk and PEP may be appropriate.
How does PEP Work?
PEP are medications that halt HIV’s ability to replicate. PEP involves taking two medications combined into one pill daily or several pills daily (for greater exposures). You need to take the pills(s) once a day for 28 days. It is very important that these drugs are taken on time without missing doses. Your doctor may require HIV testing even after PEP is complete.
Studies of health care workers show that their risk of becoming HIV positive after a needle stick injury is significantly reduced by using PEP. Please note that PEP only works if taken within 72 hours of exposure, and may not work in all cases; the sooner you start the treatment, the better the chance of it working. After 72 hours, you should still contact your doctor to discuss further options.
Does PEP mean I can have unprotected sex?
Absolutely not. PEP is not a cure for HIV/AIDS. Taking PEP will not protect you against another exposure to HIV. Safe sex and safe needle use are the most effective ways to avoid infection, but PEP is there if you need it.
Side effects sometimes occur. The drugs used for PEP can be toxic but are often well tolerated. They can cause side effects such as nausea and stomach upsets, headaches, rashes, tiredness and loss of appetite.