CDC Expands HIV Postexposure Prophylaxis Recommendations

A recent article in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report includes some recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for use of post-exposure prophylaxis in people exposed to HIV in a nonoccupational setting.

Similar to the guidelines following occupational exposures, the CDC recommends prophylaxis beginning within 72 hours after the initial exposure with any body fluids from an HIV infected person. If 72 hours has passed after the exposure, the CDC recommends not starting prophylaxis. If the HIV status of the contact person is unknown, but the exposure has an elevated risk the CDC suggests the decision of whether to begin prophylaxis be made on a patient-to-patient basis.

Unfortunately many people are unaware that they are infected with HIV, and because of the 72 hour window period for prophylaxis these people are out of luck when they discover they were exposed. People who benefit the most from prophylaxis are those who know they have been exposed, including sexual assault victims and intravenous drug users.

Some clinicians have fears that people will use post exposure prophylaxis as a “safety net” for unprotected sex, but that is not at all it’s intended purpose.

*For the complete article please refer to