Shall I take PEP?
Apr 18, 2010
Dear Dr. Bob
I live in London, England, and I am single heterosexual male of 38 years. Yesterday I went out with some friends and had a bit too much to drink. At the end of the night went back home alone and called a prostitute. She camed over, we had sex a first time with condom. After that she gave a massage and I gave her one, we got very heated and sensual, kissing and in the heat of the moment we had vaginal sex but this time unprotected, after a few seconds I got concerned and stopped but she reassured me that she was clean and had been tested one month before, for some stupid reason I continued and we had unprotective vaginal sex for about 10 minutes. We also had unprotected oral sex both I gave it to her and I received it. At the time of writing this the sex act occurred 23 hours ago. A couple of comments which I dont know nif they are very relevant, during sex she was not very wet and I did feel a lot of fluids from her vagina in my penis (just a feeling), about 2 weeks before I had some spots in my pennis which I am not sure what they could be, but based on pictures I looked on the interntet I believe it could be either candida or genital herpes. These spots small craters lasted for about 1 week and by the time of the sexual encounter had completely dissapeared for about 5-7 days. Could this increase a possible risk of infection of HIV if it was herpes? I had only once before had a bout of similar spots 3 years ago. There was no ejaculation on the girls vagina. I asked her several times about her status and she told she was clean. I have never met this girl before and the fact that she went ahead to have unprotected sex makes me think she is careless and could potentially had done it before and might be infected. Today being saturday, I was went to the A&E dept of my local hospital in London. Initially a junior doctor advised againt PEP as he tought the risk was low, he then went to ask anoter doctor and they gave a course of PEP and some information and told me if it made me feel better I could take it (the same I was quite distressed about the whole situation). Have read some information on the internet about PEP I can see it has very strong side effects and some people have to stop their normal routines as they feel strong nausea, headaches, voting, diarrhoea and fatige, not being able to do much for a month. So its not 5am in LOndon and I am sitting in front on my computer, just got back from the hospital, with my PEP meds in front of my debating if I should start this treatment. Please can you advise in your opinion whether I was at risk and I should take PEP. In the hospital they didnt test me for HIV but I believe I am clean (had a test about 6 months).
Response from Dr. Frascino
In situations like yours, in which the HIV-acquisition risk is relatively low, but not completely nonexistent, PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) is sometimes offered, but there is generally not a strong recommendation to take it. As with all exposures significant enough to warrant a course of PEP, I would recommend you be followed by an HIV physician specialist. (See below.) If in doubt, you could start PEP and then have a more detailed evaluation with the HIV specialist several days later. If the HIV specialist judges your HIV-acquisition risk to be extremely low or negligible, you could stop PEP at that time.
If you are still in touch with your Naughty Lady from Shady Lane, you could offer to get her rapid HIV tested. If she tests negative, you can breath a big sigh of relief. The only potential risk remaining would involve the unlikely scenario that she is in her window period (recently HIV infected, but not yet having detectable levels of anti-HIV antibodies in her blood for a positive HIV test).
Regarding herpes, it has been reported that HIV transmission can occur if HIV-infected bodily fluids were to come in to contact with areas of intact skin where previous outbreaks of herpes had occurred.
Good luck! No doubt this anxiety-provoking incident has reinforced the necessity of adhering to safer sexual practices for all penetrative sexual experiences. The potentially catastrophic consequences are not worth the risk!
Is Altripla only sufficient for PEP (PEP AND THE NEED FOR HIV SPECIALIST, 2010) Mar 30, 2010
I had an sexual encounter with a stranger. He sucked my cock and he ride on my cock just less than 1 min with out condom. i dint feel any pressure in the ass and it was very smooth.I release cum into to his ass.
I was worried, since i dont know the health status of the person, i have consulted emergency medical center after 30 hrs. The doctor gave me Altripla to take one daily before bed time and asked me to take an appointment with an HIV specialist.
I got appointment for date after 14 days from now.
Is Altripla only sufficient for PEP to avoid HIV? Do i need to consult HIV specialist ASAP(urgently)? Is the emergency medical center is giving correct dosage for me ?
Please answer my question ASAP. Thanks in advance.
Response from Dr. Frascino
Unsafe sex is risky business!
Atripla is a combination of three antiretroviral drugs -- efavirenz (Sustiva), emtricitabine (Emtriva) and tenofovir (Viread). It's the ultimate in convenience -- the three-in-one tablet is taken just once per day. It is a recommended fixed-dose combination drug for PEP.
It would be helpful if you could see an HIV specialist sooner than 14 days, particularly if you have any difficulty tolerating the therapy (drug side effects or toxicities) or develop any symptoms. A full course of PEP is only 28 days in duration. Perhaps the HIV specialist could work you in sooner or you could see a different specialist. I'll post some information below from the archives regarding PEP and the need to be followed by an HIV specialist.
Condom failure - PEP side effects (PEP AND THE NEED FOR HIV SPECIALIST, 2010) Jan 25, 2010
I am a bisexual male who has always tried to be safe when it comes to sexual partners.
However during recent insertive anal sex with a casual male partner (of unknown HIV status), the condom split. I withdrew less than a minute later without ejaculation. There did not appear to be any blood or mucus, nor were there any cuts, lesions or anything else on me. I am circumcised (in case this makes a difference) - and my most recent HIV test (on the day of the condom failure) was negative.
I started the PEP course within 30 hours. However, almost at the same time as starting the PEP, my tongue became coated with a yellow mucus and I developed night sweats and a very sore throat which only started to subside on day 5 of the course. I have suffered the usual side effects from the PEP drugs (loss of appetite, nausea, etc).
Could this be a sign of seroconversion? Or is it coincidence/side effects from the PEP drugs?
Response from Dr. Frascino
"Symptoms" that begin 30 hours after a potential HIV exposure would not be caused by HIV seroconversions. The symptoms associated with ARS (acute retroviral syndrome) become manifest two to three weeks after HIV primary infection.
As I have mentioned frequently in this forum, I strongly encourage anyone who has had an HIV exposure significant enough to warrant a course of PEP be followed by an HIV specialist. The specialist would be able to quickly evaluate and address concerns such as those you raise. (See below.)
Can PEP meds mimic ARS? (PEP AND THE NEED FOR HIV SPECIALIST, 2009) Aug 22, 2009
Hi Dr. Bob,
Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for people who find themselves scared and bewildered. A twist of humor is also helpful.
I have searched the archives. Simple question, I think, can PEP meds side effects mimic ARS?
Thank you kindly for your answer and please find a donation forthcoming to the foundation.
Response from Dr. Frascino
Simple question, yes. However, the answer is not quite so simple! HIV acute retroviral syndrome (ARS) symptoms are quite variable from case to case. These symptoms are also "non-specific," which means they can be caused by many different conditions (for instance many underlying conditions can cause fever, rash, malaise, etc.). Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is any combination of antiretroviral drugs used to try to abort an HIV infection following an exposure. Each of these drugs has a wide array of potential side effects. Not everyone uses the same PEP regimen and not every drug has the same side effect profile. So since ARS symptoms are broad, varied and non-specific and since PEP regimens are varied with each component drug having a wide array of potential side effects, it is possible (although not highly likely) that some PEP-related side effects could mimic some HIV ARS symptoms. This is one of the reasons I always recommend (when possible) that folks who have had an HIV exposure significant enough to warrant a course of PEP be followed by an HIV specialist during the 28-day course of treatment. An HIV specialist is best suited to evaluate and manage any symptoms that might arise during a course of PEP. (See below.)
Amas, as you can see, not all simple questions have simple answers.
EMS Exposure (PEP AND THE NEED FOR HIV SPECIALIST) Mar 2, 2009
A patient of mine had projectile vomiting and some of it landed in my mouth and eyes. There was no way I could have avoided this. I do not think there is a risk of HIV transmission, however, the hospital put me on Viread and Combivir as a precaution. The patient was homeless, intoxicated, and not forthcoming of his medical history.
What do you think of this situation?
Response from Dr. Frascino
Vomitus (like saliva, urine, tears, sweat, nasal mucous and feces) is not considered to be a risk for HIV transmission unless there is visible blood present. PEP was most likely not warranted. As with all people who have had a potential exposure significant enough to begin a PEP regimen, I recommend you be evaluated and followed by an HIV specialist physician. (See below.) He will take a detailed history and advise whether or not PEP should be continued or modified. Also, since you know the potential source patient, he could be contacted and asked to undergo HIV screening.
pep and the worst year of my life. (PEP AND THE NEED FOR HIV SPECIALIST) Jul 13, 2008
I'm a bit nervous because I just took PEP and I don't know what the side effects are so maybe you can help out with it.
I've been having pains in my right abdomen for about a month now but my liver enzymes are normal. I'm still a bit scared because it is where my liver is.
Yesterday, I has receptive anal sex with a stranger. I put a condom on him and he was doing what he was doing. Then he said, I THINK SOME ONES COMING, So I look around, there was nobody there and looked behind me. Saw that the condom with lube was on the floor and his zipper was zipped up. Didn't think anything of it. Went home and pooped. I saw a glob of his semen in the toilet and was going to kill myself.
My possible exposure before this one was 4 months ago. It was anal receptive without condom with a guy I barely knew who I can't get in touch with. I came down with flu symptoms and was told to test at 3 months and then 6 months and then a year because I got really sick.
So my result was negative today before I started pep. I wanted to know if my testing window period will change for the sexual encounter that took place 4 months ago or should I trust in a 4 month negative??????
PEP treatment is 1 month.
When should I test again.
Should I stop taking the pep?
Does pep have hiv in it that will effect me if I have previously been exposed(4 months ago), ruining my chances of being negative?
I've had the worst luck any guy can have. I didn't have sex for 4 months and the one day I decided to cruise, I got violated.
Will pep have a bad effect on me if I am infected and don't know it from the 4 month issue?
I know that you're the only one that can answer these questions for me.
Response from Dr. Frascino
Why would you think I am the only one who could answer your questions! Your questions are not uncommon or particularly challenging. Any HIV specialist should be able to help. I'm a bit concerned by your first statement, ". . . I just took PEP and I don't know what the side effects are . . . ." The prescribing physician (hopefully an HIV specialist) should have explained potential side effects at the time the medications were recommended. I can't specifically answer this question, because side effects are different from person to person and also the range of potential side effects differs depending on which antiretroviral medications are in the PEP regimen. I'm also concerned about several of your other questions, such as "Does PED have HIV in it?" Questions like this demonstrate a profound lack of understanding of post-exposure prophylaxis and antiretroviral therapy. (The brief response is no, of course these medications do not contain HIV!)
Your multiple concerns clearly demonstrate why I strongly recommend that all folks who have had an HIV exposure significant enough to warrant PEP have an HIV specialist involved in their care. The HIV specialist will:
1. Evaluate and document the HIV risk exposure.
2. Recommend PEP if warranted.
3. If PEP has already been started, the HIV specialist will revise, optimize or suggest discontinuation of the PEP regimen as indicated.
4. Evaluate and manage all PEP-related side effects and toxicities.
5. Evaluate all symptoms, including potential acute retroviral syndrome symptoms, occurring during the course of PEP therapy.
6. Arrange for and interpret post-PEP HIV testing.
My advice to you is to contact an HIV specialist. He or she will specifically address all your concerns in detail. I would also suggest that you be a bit more discerning regarding your sexual partners. When that last jerk said "I THINK SOME ONES COMING," apparently he was talking about himself! If he managed to ditch the condom without your realizing it, you really need to pay more attention to "what he is doing while he's doing what he's doing," particularly when he's "doing" you!
ARS or PEP side-effect? Jul 3, 2008
Thank God for you and this website! Quite concerned over the following:
I'm on PEP (Kaletra and Truvada) after a potential exposure (4 days ago) and noticed yesterday for a time (and again today) that my face is quite warm and I feel flushed. I have had the usual loose stool, stomach-related side-effects of the meds but I'm REALLY hoping that you can tell me if a slight temperature might also be a side effect and not a result of the "ARS" I see so many here concerned about. Obviously self-diagnosis is a BIG mistake, as is worrying and stressing but I'd very much appreciate your honest opinion.
Response from Dr. Frascino
Your question graphically demonstrates the reason I suggest anyone who has had an HIV exposure significant enough to warrant a course of PEP be followed by an HIV specialist. The HIV specialist can document your true degree of HIV risk, optimize PEP regimens, evaluate and manage all PEP-related side effects or toxicities, monitor for and evaluate any possible ARS symptoms and arrange for an interpret all post-PEP HIV tests. Having to take a course of PEP is indeed stressful. Having an HIV specialist involved can significantly reduce that stress. I cannot evaluate symptoms or make diagnoses over the Internet. What I can tell you is that "feeling flushed" and actually having a significant fever are two very different things. Also, even if you were to have an elevated temperature, there are many conditions other than HIV that could be the cause. I can also advise you that symptoms four days after exposure would not be related to HIV. It takes weeks, not days, for the symptoms of acute retroviral syndrome (ARS) to appear.
condom broke during the act Jan 20, 2007
First, Thank you so much for this forum.
about 4 days ago i had vaginal sex with a woman who i later discovered to be very high risk. the condom broke during our act and it was less than 3 or four minutes later that i finished. i don't know if she was hiv positive and have no way of finding out. the following day I went to the emergency room and was perscribed ATRIPLA. and of course i am not feeling very well at all on it. I go to the bathroom often and have the symptoms of a low fever at times during the day. cottonmouth, sore throat ...
I live in san francisco, and am wondering if I should have a follow up visit with a specialist in the area. And How I would find such a doctor.
Also was my risk and exposure high enough to warrant such a drastic step as ATRIPLA?
And of course I am completely freaking out that one stupid drunk moment has damaged my body to such a degree, has anyone built a time machine yet?
Response from Dr. Frascino
Personally, I feel anyone who has had an HIV exposure significant enough to warrant a course of PEP should be followed by an HIV specialist, if possible. The HIV specialist would:
1. Evaluate the risk to see if PEP was really warranted.
2. Optimize the PEP regimen.
3. Evaluate and manage PEP-related side effects and toxicities.
4. Arrange for and evaluate post-PEP HIV testing.
Living in San Francisco, you have many options from which to choose regarding HIV specialist. Certified HIV/AIDS specialist physicians in your area can be located by consulting the American Academy of HIV Medicine Web site, www.aahivm.org.
Finally, if you do find that time machine, let me know. I know millions of folks who want to go back to 2000 and 2004 and recast their presidential vote.
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