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Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) for Preventing HIV after Exposure ?

What is post-exposure prophylaxis?

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Post-exposure prophylaxis (or PEP) means taking antiretroviral medicines (ART) after being potentially exposed to HIV to prevent becoming infected.

What we know about PEP:

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PEP should be used only in emergency situations and must be started within 72 hours after a recent possible exposure to HIV. PEP is safe but may cause side effects like nausea in some people. These side effects can be treated and aren't life threatening. +

In 1996, the US Public Health Service released recommendations on the use of PEP among health care personnel exposed to HIV by getting stuck with a needle that had been used with an HIV-positive patient. In 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines for using PEP to prevent HIV infection among people who are exposed to HIV through sex or drug use.

Your health care provider will test you for HIV before prescribing PEP to make sure you don't already have it and may test you for up to 6 months after you begin taking PEP to be sure you stay HIV-negative.

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