DC launches hotline to get meds to those exposed to HIV

D.C. launched a new 24/7 hotline Wednesday to get emergency medication to people who may have been exposed to HIV.

The District’s Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) Hotline provides medication to prevent HIV. It has to be started within 72 hours of possible exposure.

The hotline can be reached at (202) 299-3PEP (3737).

“As we continue working together to crush this pandemic, we know we must also stay focused on ending the HIV epidemic in D.C.,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said.

“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 D.C. PEP Hotline.”

The hotline is staffed with medical experts from MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

According to D.C. Health, there were 282 new cases of HIV in D.C. in 2019 — the most recent year for which data is available.

“In D.C., our status neutral approach is to make HIV prevention and care available when and where people need it,” D.C. Health Director Dr. LaQuandra S. Nesbitt said. “Time is of the essence in getting those who may have been exposed to HIV on PEP. The D.C. PEP Hotline is a safe and easy way to prevent HIV.”

If you think you were exposed to HIV, call the D.C. PEP hotline at (202) 299-3PEP (3737). You can also call the D.C. 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.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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