Post Exposure Prophylaxis

 

Post exposure prophylaxis is a drug treatment that is started immediately after someone is exposed to HIV. The aim is to allow a person’s immune system a chance to provide protection against the virus and to prevent HIV from becoming established in someone’s body. In order for Post exposure prophylaxis to have a chance of working the medication needs to be taken as soon as possible and definitely within 72 hours of exposure to HIV.

Post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) usually consists of a month long course of two or three different types of the antiretroviral drugs that are also prescribed as treatment for people with HIV. As with most antiretrovirals these can cause side effects such as diarrhea, headaches, nausea/vomiting and pain in abdomen. PEP is not recommended if the source is proven HIV negative by antibody test. But no coercion should be used to test the source for undergoing HIV test. Cost of the PEP drugs can range from Rs 1000-5000.

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