PEP works better the sooner you get it, so you’ll have to go to the emergency room.
Tell them you think you’ve been exposed to HIV and you want PEP right away.
Not all emergency rooms have PEP or every medication used as PEP. Although there are a number of drugs used as PEP, the medications used today are less and less likely to have uncomfortable side effects.
Sometimes the ER staff won’t know what PEP is, so you might want to ask for someone who knows more about HIV or infectious diseases.
They should give you your first dose right there at the hospital, and then instructions about filling your prescription for the rest of the medication.
PEP isn’t cheap. It can cost up to $1500 for the month you need to take it, and you may have to pay for it yourself if you don’t have a health plan that covers it. However, money should never get between you and your health. If you don’t have the money, tell the people in the ER you don’t have any way to pay for it. They may be able to help you find a way to access the medications. Most private insurance plans will cover PEP.
If you’re someone who doesn’t deal with enough possible HIV exposure to justify going on PrEP, but you can anticipate that you may be exposed to HIV from someone who isn’t on treatment in the future, you may be able to access PIP (PEP-In-Pocket). PIP is PEP you get in advance, and keep on-hand in-case you need it, without having to visit an emergency room. PrEPrx Clinic Ontario help people across the province access PIP. You can find their intake form here.
Are you ready to go to the ER and ask for PEP, but worried about not knowing what to say? Download this play-by-play and bring it with you to the hospital.