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Definition of Post-exposure prophylaxis

Post-exposure prophylaxis: A treatment administered following exposure to a harmful agent which attempts to block or reduce injury or infection. Prophylaxis means a defense or protection.

Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), for example, might concern the treatment of a health care worker exposed by a needle stick to HIV with a drug such as AZT to protect them from being infected with HIV.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=11208
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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