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Chances of getting HIV from a person under PEP
Jul 27, 2013

Hello Dr.

I so appreciate the work your doing here. Thebody has become a home of many worried minds across the world, me included. Thank you again.

My girlfriend was volunteering for a health course in one of the local hospitals. She is a trained lab tech, and recently had an accident while taking blood from an HIV infected patient. 24hours after the exposure, she was on PEP and yesterday was her last day in taking the 4weeks therapy. On the last day of her therapy, we had Virginal sex where condom broke and I happen to have ejaculated also. The following day, both us tested for HIV and we were both Negative (considering that she was testing after her 4weeks therapy.) It's barely less than 72hours and am Wondering if I should go for nPEP myself too. Am so scared.

Your timely advice will be so much appreciate.

Thank you.

Response from Dr. Wohl

It is highly unlikely your girlfriend has any HIV to give you. The risk of acquiring HIV from a needle stick is actually quite low and last I read in the US there had not been a case of HIV transmission to a health care worker in several years. PEP reduces the risk even further.

If she were infected with HIV chances are her HIV test would be positive at 4 weeks. Some will seroconvert later it is true but most will do so by 4 weeks if PEP fails.

So, I would not go on PEP. The HIV testing that would be most useful for your girlfriend is an HIV RNA PCR or a combo antibody/antigen. These tests look for actual virus and were she to be infected it would detect virus.

DW



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