Mar 6, 2003
Dear Dr.Ryan, thanks so much for your answer on Human bite & HIV. I also mentioned that I took PEP INDENVIR, AZT 3TC FOR A WEEK, though I was supppose to take it for 4 weeks.Do you think the medicaation will help if I had any exposure to HIV as well as how successful it is cos I took the medications for a week only. Waiting to hear from you.
| Response from Mr. Kull
According to the CDC, taking antiviral medications for recent exposure are probably not effective unless you take them for at least one month (28 days/four weeks) following exposure.
The guidelines for post-exposure prophylaxis, even though PEP is still quite experimental, suggest that medication needs to be started within 24-36 hours of exposure. Since the procedure is still not widely practiced, is expensive (and not covered by health insurance), and can cause troubling side-effects for people, PEP is only recommended for individuals who have a significant exposure to HIV. Criteria vary, but PEP is only warranted when someone has unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse with an infected person or a person from a high-risk group (men who have sex with men, injection drug users, or people from an area of high HIV prevalence), or for a victim of sexual assault. Programs that provide PEP are developing (mostly in urban areas) and hospitals sometimes have protocols for administering non-occupational PEP.
See PEP for more info.
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