Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)

An emergency option for people who may have been exposed to HIV

Post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP, is a short course of antiretroviral medication, taken after a potential exposure to HIV, to lower the risk of infection. The sooner PEP is started, the better. Treatment must be started within 72 hours of possible exposure and involves taking the drugs daily for 28 days.

PEP’s Role in HIV prevention: An emergency intervention

PEP is not a substitute for regular use of other HIV prevention methods, such as condom use and PrEP. It is intended for emergency situations after possible exposure to the virus and is not meant to be taken on a regular basis. PEP is an additional tool in the prevention toolkit, providing a critical safety net to prevent HIV acquisition. 

PEP Advocacy: An under-utilized intervention

Although it is an intervention of great promise, PEP is neglected in HIV programs PEP is routinely used in the rare instances whebn healthcare workers become exposed to HIV. But individuals exposed outside healthcare settings all too often are unaware of PEP or unable to access it. As new prevention options are being scaled up, there is room to invest in further PEP research and improve its uptake.

Track the Research

HIV Prevention Research & Development Database (PxRD)

The database allows users to view clinical trials around the world, gaining an understanding of the many developments currently being made in the field of HIV prevention research.

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