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Condom Broke: HIV+ Male & HIV- Female

Nov 14, 1997

Three weeks ago my friend (female) had sex with an HIV+ guy and the condom broke. What are the chances she was infected? I heard they have treatments for people who have been exposed to HIV. Is there any thing she can do? Should she take any drugs (Pro Tease Inhibitors?)? What effect would taking drugs have on her health if she is negetive? How much time does she have to start drug treatment if she wanted to do so?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky


Thank you for your question. Currently, prophylactic treatment (treatments to prevent a person from becoming infected after a KNOWN exposure to HIV) is only recommended for significant occupational exposures (for example, blood exposures to healthcare workers from a known HIV positive patient). This involves treating the exposed worker with a group of drugs (nicknamed "cocktails") which have action against HIV. These drugs normally are started preferably within 1-2 hours after an exposure, or at most 24-36 hours after an exposure. The worker would then continue on these medications for 4 weeks.

There is now a research trial currently underway to see if this treatment approach can be used for significant sexual exposures to KNOWN HIV positive persons. Because this research trial is currently in it's early stages, we cannot say at this time, if treatments would benefit persons with significant sexual exposures to HIV. We still have very little information regarding the harmful health effects of these drugs (if any) on HIV negative persons. Until this trial is complete, and until further information is available, preventive treatment against HIV for sexual exposures is still not recommended in the majority of cases.

In regard to your friend specifically, there is nothing that can realistically be done at this point in time, other than HIV testing over the next 6 months. Nobody can give you a realistic statistic as to her chances of infection, other than to say that she may or may not be infected.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to e-mail me at "" or call me at (Nationwide). I'm glad to help!

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