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3 or 6 month testing
Dec 26, 2008

Dear Doc, I know this question has been asked over and over again. I'm a nurse and have recently had blood splash to the eye of known HIV+. I started PEP within 5 hours (my ER is a bit slow). I was told at Clinic that a test at 3 months would be pretty accurate in an occupational risk situation. However, I went to clinic again today, and I was told that you can still seroconvert after 3 months, and said to get tested at 6 months. I just want the peace of mind for my partner and myself. Do I really need to wait 6 months? Thanks!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

It is true that a three-month HIV-antibody test following a significant occupational exposure is indeed "pretty accurate." However, when it comes to a disease like HIV/AIDS, "pretty accurate" is just not good enough! The guidelines recommend a six-month test in these types of situations for a definitive result. I agree. You can download a complete copy of the current guidelines at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5409a1.htm. You can also read much more about occupational PEP in the archives.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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