Policy & Politics
CDC Recommends Prophylactic Antiretroviral Drug Regimen for People Exposed to HIV Through Unprotected Sex, Shared Needles
January 21, 2005
CDC on Thursday in a "major policy shift" recommended that people exposed to HIV through unprotected sexual intercourse, sexual assault, shared needles or accidents receive immediate treatment with antiretroviral drugs to prevent infection, the AP/Chicago Tribune reports (Yee, AP/Chicago Tribune, 1/21). The move expands 1996 CDC guidelines that recommended post-exposure prophylaxis only for health care workers exposed to HIV through occupational accidents, USA Today reports (Manning, USA Today, 1/21). CDC said the new guidelines -- which were published on Friday in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report -- are based on studies showing that beginning an antiretroviral regimen shortly after exposure can reduce the risk of HIV infection by as much as 80% (Goldstein, Miami Herald, 1/21). CDC said that to be effective, prophylactic antiretroviral regimens must be started no later than 72 hours after HIV exposure and continue for 28 days (McKay, Wall Street Journal, 1/21). CDC recommends that individuals take efavirenz and lamivudine or emtricitabine with zidovudine or tenofovir and lopinavir/ritonavir and zidovudine with either lamivudine or emtricitabine, but says that "[d]ifferent alternative regimens are possible" (Reuters, 1/20). In its guidelines, CDC warned that prophylactic treatment is "not a substitute for abstinence, mutual monogamy, consistent and correct condom use, use of sterile needles and syringes to inject drugs and other behaviors that can help avoid HIV exposure in the first place," according to a CDC release (CDC release, 1/20). Some states -- including Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island -- already have policies for treating sexual assault survivors with antiretrovirals. Some cities, including San Francisco, also have developed policies to treat others who have been exposed to HIV, including men who have sex with men, commercial sex workers and injection drug users, according to the AP/Las Vegas Sun.
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.