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pretaking HAART to prevent HIV infection
Jan 31, 2009

Hello,I have a degree in biology and is in process of going to Pharmacy school in the fall. I did a research for my undergrad thesis on HIV and found out that a person could go to the hospital immediately after exposure to HIV and be given an antiviral cocktail. This person would be 100% protected from HIV that he was exposed to. I was wondering if you guys can confirm that for me. Also, if that is true, would it be effective for a HIV- person to pretake doses of HAART before a high risk activity to eliminate all chances of infection by HIV? Thank you Dr. Frascino

I feel maybe the government should make these drugs assessable for people who are HIV- that engage in high risk behavior like prostitution.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) can help prevent HIV transmission. Unfortunately it is not 100% effective, even when appropriately prescribed and taken immediately after HIV exposure. Yours truly is an excellent example of this phenomenon. I took PEP immediately after sustaining a hollow-bore needlestick while performing a medical procedure on a patient with advanced-stage AIDS in January 1991. Despite PEP, I seroconverted to HIV positive several weeks later.

Clinical trials are underway for PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) to determine its safety and efficacy. You can read more about this topic in the archives.

Dr. Bob



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