Washington, DC (STL.News) Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Health launched the District’s Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) Hotline, a new resource for people who may have been exposed to HIV. PEP is emergency medication taken to prevent HIV and has to be started within 72 hours of a possible exposure. The DC PEP Hotline is open 24 hours a day/7 days a week, and can be reached by calling (202) 299-3PEP (3737). More information is available at GetPEPDC.org.
“As we continue working together to crush this pandemic, we know we must also stay focused on ending the HIV epidemic in DC,” said Mayor Bowser. “We thank our community partners for helping us make critical health care more accessible, and now we all need to work together to spread the word and make sure our community knows about the DC PEP Hotline.”
When an individual calls the DC PEP Hotline at (202) 299-3PEP (3737), they will speak with an expert and caring medical provider. They will then be able to pick up their initial PEP medications from select Walgreen’s pharmacies in DC. DC Health has partnered with MedStar Georgetown University Hospital to staff the DC PEP Hotline.
In December 2020, Mayor Bowser released the District’s updated plan and community platform to end the HIV epidemic at DCEndsHIV.org, which included establishing a 24-hour/7 days a week PEP Hotline and access program with immediate prescription availability. PEP has been used effectively in health care facilities and other occupational settings for more than 30 years, but has not been used generally. DC studies also show low awareness and use of PEP. The DC PEP Hotline makes PEP, which can be described as “Plan B” or “the morning after pill” for HIV, widely available. DC Health reports there were 282 new cases of HIV in the District in 2019, the most recent numbers available. PEP will help the District achieve the DCEndsHIV.org goal of less than 130 new HIV diagnoses by the year 2030.
“In DC, our status neutral approach is to make HIV prevention and care available when and where people need it,” said Dr. LaQuandra S. Nesbitt, Director of DC Health. “Time is of the essence in getting those who may have been exposed to HIV on PEP. The DC PEP Hotline is a safe and easy way to prevent HIV.”
If you think you were exposed to HIV, call the DC PEP hotline at (202) 299-3PEP (3737). You can also call the DC Health and Wellness Center at (202) 741-7692, call your doctor, a community clinic (listing at LinkUDMV.org), or go an urgent care center or emergency room and ask for PEP.