New SMS service for SA HIV Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) Hotline


Communicable Disease Control Branch, Health Regulation and Protection, Department of Health and Wellbeing, Government of South Australia,  February 2021

The South Australian HIV PEP Hotline (1800 022 226) provides advice, triage and information to members of the community who may have been exposed to HIV, and if
assessed as eligible, directs them to their nearest PEP access point.

Most HIV PEP access points in SA are emergency departments (ED), a full list can be found on the SA Health website.

Following reports of three people experiencing difficulty in accessing HIV PEP in South Australian EDs over a two year period (2018-19), CDCB contracted Healthdirect Australia to
develop a Short Message Service (SMS) known to be successful in Western Australia for similar access issues.

The SMS solution went live in South Australia in December 2020.

Callers to the SA HIV PEP Hotline can now opt to receive a text message with a web link to relevant information to show to ED/clinic staff on presentation to a PEP access point in SA.

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.


Sample of SMS script below:

I have been advised to attend your service for a HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) assessment after an exposure to HIV.
This is a time sensitive situation. HIV PEP medication is most effective when taken as soon as possible after exposure and no later than 72 hours after exposure.
I have been referred to your service by a Registered Nurse via SA Health’s HIV PEP Hotline as you are a site that can commence HIV PEP and it may be appropriate for me to take HIV
prophylactic antiretroviral medication.
For more information and a full list of HIV PEP access points in South Australia, please visit the SA Health website at

If you have any questions about appropriate PEP prescribing and follow-up please refer to the South Australian HIV PEP Management Plan, available on the SA Health website
Specialist clinical advice can be obtained from  Adelaide Sexual Health Centre on 08 7117 2800.

SA HIV PEP Hotline 1800 022 226





By J Pope

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