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Thank you
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.

RMK



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