How is a significant exposure to HIV defined?

Updated: Jul 08, 2021
  • Author: Derek T Larson, DO; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Contact with a substantial-risk fluid to vagina, rectum, eye, mouth, non-intact skin (including dermatitis), or percutaneously is considered a significant exposure.

If the source patient is known or found to be HIV-negative and not at a significant risk for acute HIV illness (ie, current intravenous drug use or frequent high-risk sexual contacts), PEP can often be discontinued after testing, but should not be delayed while awaiting test results. If the source’s HIV status is unavailable, a determination of risk must be based on the source’s known risk for acute or chronic HIV infection.

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