Post-Exposure Prophylaxis

In a country such a Swaziland with a high HIV prevalence of 19%, it is expected that a sizeable proportion of health care patients are HIV positive. It is also expected that there will be increased risk of infection with rape considering the trauma to the genital tract. Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is a necessary secondary prevention measure in health care settings, since there will always be instances in which primary preventions fail and healthcare workers or patients may be accidentally, or through unsafe procedures, exposed to the risk of HIV transmission.

The vast majority of incidents of occupational exposure to blood borne pathogens, including HIV, occur in health care settings. PEP for HIV consists of a comprehensive set of services to prevent infection developing in an exposed person, including: first aid care; counseling and risk assessment; HIV testing and counseling; and, depending on the risk assessment, the short term (28day) provision of antiretroviral drugs, with support and follow up.