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Do I Really Need to Wait 6 Months?
Apr 30, 2006

I recently took the full course of PEP after a possible exposure from receptive anal sex with a partner of unknown status (who claims to be negative).

I tested negative at 5 weeks.

My question is, will the 3 month test be conclusive enough for me to stop worrying? What is the *actual* rate of conversion after 3 months?

Thanks!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Unfortunately, since the number of folks in your particular situation (unprotected receptive anal sex with a partner of unknown status, who then take a particular PEP regimen for the full 28 days) is small, it would be difficult to generate a large enough clinical cohort to do an epidemiological study that would yield "*actual* rates of conversion after 3 months." Consequently, the best we can offer are guidelines based on theoretical risk. The current guidelines state that if an HIV exposure is felt to be significant enough to warrant PEP, follow-up HIV tests out to six months are recommended. The complete report, "Antiretroviral Postexposure Prophylaxis After Sexual, Injection-Drug Use, or Other Nonoccupational Exposure to HIV in the United States; Recommendations from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services," is on the DHHS Web site.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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