HIV PEP information for health professionals

South Australian HIV PEP hotline 1800 022 226

The provision of post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is part of an overall strategy for the prevention of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in South Australia. PEP is a 28 day course of antiretroviral medications that can prevent HIV infection following an exposure to HIV.

HIV PEP must be started within 72 hours of the risk exposure and effectiveness is considered to be greater when PEP is started as soon as possible.

HIV PEP hotline

The South Australian HIV PEP hotline 1800 022 226 is available 24 hours a day to triage any member of the public who believes they may have been exposed to HIV. Calls are answered by a Registered Nurse who will conduct a risk assessment based on the information provided by the caller. Individuals who have had a significant risk exposure to HIV will be directed to the nearest HIV PEP access point.

Access points

The South Australian HIV PEP system is available through hospital emergency departments and targeted primary care clinics as HIV PEP access points. These access points hold HIV PEP 'starter packs' that contain five days of antiretroviral medications.

Starter packs allow individuals presenting after an exposure or suspected exposure to HIV to be started on the antiretroviral medication as soon as possible, thereby increasing the effectiveness of PEP.

All metropolitan Adelaide public hospital emergency departments are HIV PEP starter pack access points. In rural areas, emergency departments of key regional hospitals are HIV PEP starter pack access points.

Ordering PEP starter packs

PEP starter packs can be ordered via a written or electronic purchase request and directed to the SA Pharmacy Purchasing Officer at Flinders Medical Centre. Phone (08) 8204 5283 if further information regarding ordering is required. It is the responsibility of distribution sites to check stock expiry dates on a regular basis.

Accessing the remainder of the PEP 28 day course

The starter pack of PEP has enough medicine for five days only. To be effective, the full course of PEP is 28 days. It is the patient's responsibility to arrange the follow-up medical appointment and the remainder of the 28 day course of PEP medicines. See the patient information sheet (PDF 179KB) for more information.

COVID-19 and HIV PEP access

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, reducing the number of non-essential and non-urgent face-to-face presentations for healthcare is important. The Communicable Disease Control Branch (CDCB) has put in place temporary measures to reduce the number of face-to-face presentations for PEP after a potential exposure to HIV.

Instead of providing a patient with a five-day HIV PEP starter pack and requiring them to arrange and then present for a follow-up appointment to access the remaining 23 days of medication, CDCB, on advice from Adelaide Sexual Health Centre, has temporarily put in place measures to provide a patient with the full 28-day supply of HIV PEP at their first presentation.

Follow-up care arrangements can then be made by telemedicine or face-to-face appointment, as deemed appropriate by the prescribing doctor and in line with the Standard Operating Procedures in the South Australian HIV PEP Management Plan.

Training for clinicians

An online training module for clinicians at PEP access point locations is available from SHINE SA. To register for the free PEP training module, please email: SHINESACourses@shinesa.org.au  with your name, position and workplace.

Access point locations

Metropolitan area

Country SA 

Barossa Hills Fleurieu Local Health Network

Eyre and Far North Local Health Network

Flinders and Upper North Local Health Network

Limestone Coast Local Health Network

Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network

Yorke and Northern Local Health Network

Other regional services

Further information

For further information on HIV PEP, contact SA Health's Communicable Disease Control Branch