DC Health and Mayor Muriel Bowser started the District’s Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) Hotline on Wednesday, which will serve individuals who may have been exposed to HIV.
The hotline, which is available 24/7, is designed to provide emergency medication to those possibly exposed to HIV. The medication (PEP) must start within the first 72 hours of a possible exposure for it to be effective.
“As we continue working together to crush this pandemic, we know we must also stay focused on ending the HIV epidemic in DC,” Mayor Bowser said in a release. “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.”
According to DC Health, there were a total of 282 new cases of HIV in the city in 2019, which is the most recent year with available records.
With PEP, the District hopes to achieve its goal of less than 130 new HIV diagnoses by 2030.
“In DC, our status neutral approach is to make HIV prevention and care available when and where people need it,” DC Director of Health Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt said. “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.”
The hotline can be reached by calling (202) 299-3PEP (3737). (For further information click here.) Callers will get to speak with an expert and caring medical provider. Then they will be able to receive the first part of their PEP medications from select Walgreen’s pharmacies around the city.
Medical experts from MedStar Georgetown University Hospital will be serving for the DC PEP Hotline.