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Just started PEP emergency treatment
Jan 22, 2006

My clinic gave me PEP after I had unprotected sex with a man who I know is bi-sexual and has slept with sex workers. HIs HIV status is not clear.

I am now understanding that there are significant side effects and im terrified because my system is generally v sensative.

I have a friend who said its very difficult to contract HIV as a straight woman, but I don't know..

Is she right? Should I not take PEP?

ALso, what can I do to manage side effects?? Am I allowed to take things like sleeping pills or xanax to sleep/calm my anxiety?? What about the food I eat, should I modify my vegetarian diet? Should i expect fluctuations in weight?

Any advice is really deeply appreciated.

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your post.

The decision to initiate PEP depends on a lot of individual situations-- but I certainly wouldn't use the notion of being a straight woman as a factor that could be viewed as protective. The majority of HIV+ women across the US and the world contract HIV through heterosexual contact only.

I can't provide counsel about the individual side effects of your PEP without knowing which drugs were prescribed, but it's certainly ok to treat side effects. Anxiolytic drugs like Xanax are fine to take and I don't think that you'd have to change your vegetarian ways- though taking your PEP with food usually offsets some of the side effects. Weight changes shouldn't be much of an issue over the relatively brief period of medication.

Last, let your clinic doctors know about your feelings and side effects- they can usually offer tailored advice to help. BY

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