Definition of Post-exposure prophylaxis

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

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.

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