Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is the treatment programme launched by the Brazilian government to offer free early preventative medical treatment to those who have been exposed to HIV.
While PEP has been available to health professionals since 1990, sexual abuse victims since 1998 and to those who have unprotected sex since 2011, this is the first time guidelines to its administration have existed.
PEP is a mixture of various antiretroviral medicines: tenofovir, lamivudine, atazanavir and ritonavir, that must be taken for up to 28 consecutive days.
The treatment programme helps to avoid infection taken within 72-hours after exposure to the risk of AIDS. It has a higher assurance within two hours.
The government has said the treatment will be freely administered to anyone who may have been exposed to HIV, including sexual abuse victims and those who have had unprotected sex. In a bid to increase its accessibility the government also intends to provide the treatment in rural areas without medical specialists.
According to specialists early treatment can reduce the HIV transmission by up to 93 percent and recent statistics by the United Nations show that HIV infections worldwide have decreased by 35 percent since 2000 due to preventative measures such as early treatment.
The success of the Brazilian Ministry of Health in confronting HIV/AIDS has gained worldwide recognition.
UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Luiz Loures has previously said, “Brazil is at the forefront of the world’s HIV response and is a key player in ending the AIDS epidemic.”