We consider the contact process on the preferential attachment graph. The work of Berger, Borgs, Chayes and Saberi confirmed physicists’ predictions that the contact process starting from a typical vertex becomes epidemic for an arbitrarily small infection rate λ with positive probability. More precisely, they showed that with probability λΘ(1), it survives for a time exponential in the largest degree. Here we obtain sharp bounds for the density of infected sites at a time close to exponential in the number of vertices (up to some logarithmic factor). In addition, a metastable result for the extinction time is also proved.