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What is PEP?

PEP is “post-exposure prophylaxis”.

It means taking antiretroviral medicines after being potentially exposed to HIV to prevent becoming infected.

How does PEP work?

PEP treatment involves taking HIV antiretroviral medicines after being potentially exposed to HIV to prevent becoming infected for 28 days and must be started within 72 hours after a recent possible exposure to HIV.

The earlier PEP is started, the more effective it may be. PEP is not a guarantee and it is not 100% effective.

Side effects such as nausea, headache, or diarrhea are common when first starting PEP.  Many of these symptoms get better over time. These side effects can be treated and aren’t life-threatening.

Is PEP right for me?

If you’re HIV-negative or don’t know your HIV status, and in the last 72 hours (three days) you

  • think you may have been exposed to HIV during sex (for example, if the condom broke),
  • shared needles and works to prepare drugs (for example, cotton, cookers, water), or
  • were sexually assaulted,

talk to a public health office, a health care provider, or an emergency room doctor about PEP right away.

Can I take a round of PEP every time I have unprotected sex?

PEP should be used only in emergency situations.

It is not a substitute for regular use of other proven HIV prevention methods, such as

  • pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which means taking HIV medicines daily to lower your chance of getting infected;
  • using condoms the right way every time you have sex;
  • and using only new, sterile needles and works every time you inject.

Where can I get PEP?

If you have had a recent high-risk exposure to HIV, contact the following public health offices.

Northwest NM

San Juan Public Health Office
355 S. Miller
Farmington, NM

Northeast NM

Santa Fe Public Health Office
605 Letrado Street
Santa Fe, NM

Albuquerque Metro Area

Midtown Public Health Office
2400 Wellesley Dr NE
Albuquerque, NM

Southeast NM

Roswell Public Health Office
200 E. Chisum St.
Roswell, NM

Southwest NM

Doña Ana Public Health Office
1170 N. Solano Drive
Las Cruces, NM

At night or on the weekend, do not wait.

Visit your local emergency room or urgent care center or your primary care provider right away.

More information can be found here


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