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What does PEP do?
Aug 21, 2005

On Tuesday I will FINALLY, after many side effects till this day, complete my 4 week PEP regimen (Combivir and Kaletra).

Perhaps, it's a bit late to ask this question, (1) but what exactly does PEP do? (2) I know it's suppose to reduce the risk of becoming infected, but how??

I've been told it somehow stops the virus at certain levels if caught early enough... but if it stopped the virus, (3) why the need to extend the treatment for 4 or even 6 weeks?

If somehow the virus did reach the cells before I began my PEP treatment within a few hours after my exposure, (4) would PEP be uneffective?

I started PEP 48 hours later and I am scared it might have been to late as I still have a small swollen lymph node on my neck for about 2 weeks and diarrhea for over a week.

Thanks for answering my questions.

Response from Dr. Henry

PEP= post exposure prophylaxis. It use is intended to prevent HIV infection after an exposure-best of used within 48 hours of the exposure. From the accumulated experience it does seem to be effective in some (hard to say what %) of cases where the HIV virus reached a target cell (which happens very quickly after an infection).KH



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