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Recent Exposure
Feb 6, 2008

I recently had unprotected sex with a partner and they indicated they were HIV poistive and currently HIV meds.

This exposure happendd within the last 48 hours.

Can i go to my PCP and tell him about this exposure and ask to be put on a course of HIV meds in order to make sure it doesnt go any farther?

What meds and how long a course would be typical?

I'm guessing they give the same course of meds to health care workers who suffer exposures while on the job?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

If you had a significant exposure to HIV, a course of PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) may be warranted. This involves taking a combination of antiretroviral medications for 28 days. You will also need HIV-antibody tests periodically out to six months from the time of exposure. PEP is most effective when begun as soon as possible after the exposure and must be started within the first 72 hours. Even when PEP is started in a timely fashion, it is not universally effective. There are PEP failures; yours truly, for example. My advice would be for you to contact your PCP or go to an urgent care center or emergency room to be evaluated. If your exposure is significant enough to warrant PEP, they should start you on the medications immediately. I would then advise you to consult an HIV specialist. That physician will document your risk, optimize your PEP regimen, evaluate and treat all PEP-related side effects and toxicities and arrange for and interpret all post-PEP HIV tests. You can read much more about PEP in the archives, but don't delay in getting evaluated. The clock is ticking!

Dr. Bob



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