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PEP with no side effects is worrying me! (+donate question)
May 20, 2010

Hi Dr.,

My predicament is no different from scores of others here. I am really hoping you will look into my question, and provide with an opinion.

Sunday May 16th, I exposed myself to risk, topping a HIV +ve guy, and not one but two. I dont know what I was thinking and can not curse myself more for it. In my defence, I didnt know the guys were positive and it was only after I had cum inside one of them, I learned of thier status. One told me hes not on meds, whilst the other, I have no clue about. I came home with a shiver in my spine and was prescribed PEP in less than 30 hours. I took my first PEP medication of Kaletra (4 tabs, in one day) and Truvada ( one per day) 32 hours after the exposure. Its day 4 now, and I am awfully worried. I didnt have any cuts on my penis, and whilst my well wishers would say my risk is low, I think I am at a high risk, because I exposed myself to not one, but TWO guys in one night. My questions to you are:

1. I was apprehensive about PEP after reading so much about the side effects but I havent noticed any till now. No diarrohea, nausea, nothing. Is that normal? Its day 4 of my medication.

2. I have been reading about a viral load test that can let me know earlier than an anti-body test, if I have any traces of the virus in me. Do you think I can get a viral load test 2 weeks after the exposure to know where I stand? The wait and stress is going to kill me! I will be on PEP in 2 weeks so is that going to alter results?

3. How can I donate to your cause?

Thanks and waiting, WorriedSickinToronto

Response from Dr. Young

Hello WSIT and thanks for your post.

1. Consider yourself lucky. Many persons experience side effects from post-exposure prophylaxis-- but not all. Just because you're not having side effects doesn't mean that your medications aren't doing the job.

2. One could do a viral load test earlier, but in my opinion, this only provides reassurance, rather than the proof that you might want. Two weeks after exposure might be a little early to test a VL, I'd generally wait until 4 weeks, and don't forget to continue to get the regular antibody testing in the months to come.

3. As for donations, our new comprehensive HIV care and treatment non-profit, Rocky Mountain CARES is always looking for ways to support (and eventually endow) world-class care for all persons living with HIV in Denver. You can look us up on the web @ or on Facebook (Rocky Mountain CARES).

Feel free to write back anytime with follow up concerns.

I hope this helps and wish you well, BY

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