What IS Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)

If you believe you have been exposed to HIV, PEP may prevent you becoming infected.

PEP is a month-long course of drugs that, if taken within 72 hours of the HIV virus entering the body, can potentially prevent a person becoming infected with HIV. The PEP drugs are the same drugs that people who have the HIV virus use to reduce its impact on the body.


PEP is short for Post Exposure Prophylaxis, meaning it is taken after exposure to HIV (a situation where HIV enters someone’s body eg: during unprotected sex or by sharing needles or other injecting equipment) in order to prevent contraction of the disease.


Things to know:

  •  PEP is not the morning after pill: it is a month-long course of drugs
  • Treatment with PEP needs to begin within 72 hours, the sooner the better, if you are outside the time frame still contact your clinic or doctor and they can assist you further.
  •  PEP Can have temporary side-effects including nausea and diarrhoea.
  •  PEP isn’t guaranteed to work but does in the majority of cases.


What are the most common reasons for needing PEP?


  • Sex without a condom with a person who has, or might have, HIV
  • Sharing needles or syringes with a person who has, or might have, HIV
  • Condom breaking or slipping off during sex


Where can I get PEP?


PEP is available from Emergency Departments of most public hospitals, sexual health clinics and some other clinics and doctors that specialise in gay men’s health and HIV. For clinics and doctors, it’s a good idea to call first to make sure they are open, and to let them know in advance that you are coming to get PEP. If the exposure happens after hours, Emergency Departments are often the best place to go to make sure you start PEP as soon as possible.


PEP Hotline: 1800 022 226 – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week




  • Clinic 275 8222 5075
  • O'Brien Street Clinic 8231 4026
  • Royal Adelaide Hospital  8222 4000
  • Flinders Medical Centre 8204 5511
  • Noarlunga Hospital 8384 9222
  • Women's and Children's Hospital 8161 7044
  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital 8222 6000
  • Modbury Hospital 8161 2000
  • Lyell McEwin Hospital 8182 9000


Eyre Peninsula and Western South Australia hospitals and health services


  • Port Lincoln Health Service  8683 2200
  • Ceduna District Health Service 8626 2110


Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island hospitals and health services


  • Kangaroo Island Health Service (Kingscote) 8553 4200
  • South Coast District Hospital (Victor Harbor) 8552 0500


Murray Mallee hospitals and health services


  • Murray Bridge Soldier's Memorial Hospital 8535 6777
  • Riverland Regional Health Service (Berri) 8580 2400


Far North hospitals and health services


  • Coober Pedy Hospital and Health Service 8672 5009
  • Port Augusta Hospital and Regional Health Service 8648 5500
  • Roxby Downs Health Service 8671 9020


Limestone Coast hospitals and health services


  • Bordertown Memorial Hospital 8752 9000
  • Mount Gambier and Districts Health Service 8721 1200


Yorke Peninsula and Mid North hospitals and health services


  • Central Yorke Peninsula Hospital (Maitland) 8832 2626
  • Burra, Clare Snowtown Health Service (Clare) 8892 2300
  • Port Pirie Regional Health Service 8632 1222


Nganampa Health Council


  • Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands
  • Amata Clinic; Pukatja (Ernabella) Clinic; Iwantja (Indulkana) Clinic 8954 9040


Other regional services


  • Royal Flying Doctor Service - Port Augusta Base 8642 2044


For PEP access in the rural SA or when clinics are closed contact, contact the SA PEP Infoline: 1800 022 226