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Doctor started me on PEP to help my anxiety.. Dangerous???
Aug 2, 2004

I started out a couple of days ago nervous about HIV, but now I'm nervous about what my doctor did in response to it.

I had an incident 70 hours ago (from this writing) that scared the daylights out of me for my stupidity but others have quantified as low risk.

I had sex with an escort - protected, with a latex condom, and inserted my fingers inside her for about a minute.

I have no cuts on my fingers or abrasions on my penis, and the condom did not break.

Regardless, this was the first (and definitely the last) time I did anything like this, so my anxiety exploded, and when I read about PEP on the internet, I ran to the ER.

I told the doc about the incident, and he drew blood for an HIV test and did a gonhorrea/chlamydia test, and started me on antibiotics and 30 days of Combivir.

I took my first Combivir about 36-39 hours after the incident and I'm getting ready to take my fourth dose tonight. I've had no side effects at all, and feel fine.

Now, people I have spoken to are telling me to stop the PEP, since I overreacted and it wasn't warranted, and it's dangerous.

I don't know what to do. The ER doc told me to stay on it and call him back in a week, or earlier if I started feeling bad. I also talked to a hotline doctor, and he told me that if I wasn't feeling any side effects in the first week, I should probably just finish the PEP.

I know you cannot give advice to a certain medical situation, but I'm getting so many mixed answers. Is my risk really that low? If so, is the Combivir more dangerous than my HIV risk, and should I stop?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

You had protected sex with a latex condom that did not break. You "inserted your fingers inside her for about a minute" without cuts on your fingers. From this information, you followed all the safer sex guidelines and your risk for HIV is nonexistent.

I think the ER doctor overreacted, because you overreacted and consequently he over-tested you and over-prescribed unnecessary and unwarranted therapies.

I would be more than happy to give you my expert opinion on this situation:

1. Stop PEP.

2. Stop worrying.

3. Continue practicing safer sex.

It really is as easy as 1-2-3!

Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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