Dec 20, 2002
Hos does PEP work?It is starting to get quite popular here down under, but I dont understand how it actually works. If PEP blocks a cell cycle in replication, how come the meds dont 'cure'HIV? What is the percentage of effectivity of PEP? Thank you for answering.
Response from Dr. Young
PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis works by preventing viral replication. Productive viral replication results in the insertion of the HIV chromosome into our genes-- hence it becomes part of our cell's own chromosomes and can be very difficult, if not impossible to eradicate without killing our own cells.
PEP, if given very early after exposure can prevent productive infection. This is a different situation that in the person with established infection, where HIV has already infected hugh numbers of cells. In this later situation, the drugs can prevent new cells from getting infected, but cannot effectively remove the HIV from the already infected cells.
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