Community and Provider Information and Resources
Contact Information
Division of HIV and STD Programs
600 S. Commonwealth Ave., 10th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Phone:(213) 351-8000
Fax: (213) 738-0825
Office Hrs: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. M-F
Social Marketing Campaigns
Health Content and Privacy Info
PEP Information for Patients

Where Can I Get PEP in Los Angeles County?
  • PEP is an emergency medication that you must take within 72 hours of a possible HIV exposure.  Talk immediately to your regular doctor or click here for more options in LA County.

  • The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center in Hollywood - 323-993-7500 can also provide assistance.

  • For more information call the LA County PEP warmline - 1-844-YEA-PREP (Note, the phone numbers will only be answered during regular business hours, so if you are concerned about a possible HIV exposure, go directly to your medical provider or the emergency room.)

What is PEP?
  • Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is an emergency medication for people who are HIV-negative and may have been exposed to HIV. If you think you were exposed to HIV, go immediately to a clinic or emergency room and ask for PEP. Find a PEP provider.

  • The Basics of PEP - New Oct. 2021
Is PEP Right for Me?
  • If you are HIV-negative, or don't know your HIV status, and answer "yes" to any of the questions below, talk to your doctor or go to the emergency room for PEP right away

    • Have you had condomless (i.e. raw) anal or vaginal sex, within the past 72 hours, with an HIV-positive person or person whose HIV status you don't know?

    • Did the condom break during anal or vaginal sex, within the past 72 hours, with an HIV-positive person or person whose HIV status you don't know?

    • Did you share a needle or other equipment to prepare drugs (cotton, cookers, water), within the past 72 hours, with an HIV-positive person or person whose HIV status you don't know?

    • Were you sexually assaulted?

PEP: Know the Basics
  • Know Your Risk. PEP can protect you if you had anal or vaginal sex without a condom with someone who has, or might have, HIV. PEP can also prevent HIV if you were exposed while injecting drugs.

  • Act Fast.  PEP works best if started right away. Go to an emergency room or clinic as soon as possible and ask about PEP. You should begin PEP no more than 72 hours after exposure.

  • Take PEP for 28 Days.  PEP is taken in pill form for 28 days. You need to take PEP each day to keep enough medicine in your body to stop HIV. If you want to stop taking PEP, talk to your doctor first.

  • Starting PEP.  When you start PEP, you may be given a "starter pack" with a few days' supply of pills.  This gives you some time to fill a prescription for the rest of the 28 days.

  • Effectiveness of PEP. PEP is much more effective at stopping HIV if you take all the pills for the full 28 days.  It is very important to never skip a dose.  It is best to take your pills at the same time every day.

  • Know about Common Side Effects.  PEP can have mild side effects, like stomach pain and headache.

  • Be Ready to Follow-Up.  After you finish taking PEP, your doctor will give you an HIV test to make sure PEP worked.

  • Find Out about Paying for PEP.  Many insurance plans including Medi-Cal cover PEP. Assistance may be available if you are uninsured.

  • Consider PrEP.  If you often worry about exposure to HIV, ask your doctor about PrEP - a daily pill that helps prevent HIV.

How does PEP stop HIV?
  • PEP contains some of the same medicines that people with HIV take to stay healthy. If you are exposed to HIV, it takes a few days for an HIV infection to take hold in your body. As soon as you start PEP, these medicines begin to stop the virus from multiplying. As you continue taking PEP for the full 28–days, cells with HIV die and the virus stops spreading to the rest of your body.

Is PEP Safe?

  • PEP is safe.  Emergency PEP has been used for many years to stop HIV in people who were accidently exposed while at work. 

If I take PEP, do I still have to use condoms?
  • PEP does not provide full protection against HIV. Condoms give you and your partners additional protection, even while on PEP. Condoms also protect against other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancy.

  • PEP is for emergency situations. If you worry about regular exposure to HIV through sex or while injecting drugs, PrEP may be a better option for you.


HIV and STD Information

Answers Next Exit

Home  |
Division of HIV and STD Programs
Public Health
LA County
  Careers  |   DPH Programs  |   Email: Webmaster  | Notice of Privacy Practices | 
  Website Privacy Policy  |   Accessibility  |   Disclaimer |   Employee  |
Admin Use
Outlook E-mail
DPH Intranet (At Work)
Los Angeles County Seal: Enriching lives through effective and caring services