skip to main content

Public Health - Seattle & King County

Post exposure prophylaxis

Evidence suggests that taking HIV medications after being exposed to HIV can help prevent infection. Health care workers can be exposed to HIV through their work (e.g. while drawing blood). This is called an occupational exposure. Other people are exposed through sex, either because they did not use a condom or the condom broke, or through sharing injection equipment. These are non-occupational exposures to HIV. If you want to take medication to help prevent HIV infection after either an occupational or non-occupational exposure to HIV, it is very important that you take the medication as soon as possible. Ideally, treatment should be started within 4 hours of the exposure, though medication is sometimes given as long as 72 hours after an exposure.

If you have a concern about either an occupational or non-occupational exposure to HIV during usual business hours (Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm), call 206-744-4377.

If you have a concern about an occupational exposure to HIV or you are a health care provider and it is outside of usual business hours, call 206-726-2619 and ask for the HIV doctor on call.

If you have a concern about a non-occupational exposure to HIV and it is outside of usual business hours, please go to the Harborview Emergency Department at Harborview Hospital, 325 9th Ave. Seattle, WA.