HIV PrEP @UCSB Student Health

PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is an HIV prevention method in which an HIV-negative person takes medicine to reduce their risk of getting HIV. PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken daily. PrEP should be used as part of a comprehensive strategy, including adherence to daily administration and safer sex practices, including condoms, to reduce the risk of sexually acquired infections.

PrEP is meant for individuals who are at high risk of acquiring HIV.  Not sure of your level of risk? Whatever your gender identity or sexual orientation, this tool  developed by the CDC can help you assess the risk of HIV transmission from various sexual activities. This tool is not a substitute for advice from your medical provider, to find out if PrEP is the right HIV prevention strategy for you, schedule an appointment to learn more.  Call (805) 893-3371 to speak to the appointment desk.

Further information can be found on the CDC website at

The word prophylaxis means "to prevent or control the spread of infection or disease."

PEP@UCSB Student Health

PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) means taking medicine to prevent HIV after a possible exposure.

PEP Must Be Started Within 72 Hours of Possible Exposure to HIV

Contact us right away (within 72 hours) to be seen by a Student Health care provider, or talk to an emergency/urgent care provider about PEP if you think you’ve recently been exposed to HIV:

  • during sex (for example, if the condom broke),
  • through sharing needles, syringes, or other equipment to inject drugs (for example, cookers), or
  • if you’ve been sexually assaulted.

The sooner you start PEP, the better. Every hour counts. If you’re prescribed PEP, you’ll need to take it daily for 28 days.

bottle of pills

PEP is for Emergency Situations

  • PEP is given after a possible exposure to HIV.
  • PEP is not a substitute for regular use of other HIV prevention.
  • PEP is not the right choice for people who may be exposed to HIV frequently.
  • If you are at ongoing risk for HIV, such as through repeated exposures to HIV, talk to your health care provider about PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis).