When is HIV postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) administered following a sexual assault?

Updated: Jul 08, 2021
  • Author: Derek T Larson, DO; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Consideration for initiation of PEP is a medical emergency and should begin as soon as possible after exposure. PEP is recommended only in patients who present to care 72 hours or sooner since the last exposure, as the window to prevent HIV integration into host cells is limited. [1, 2, 3]  Persons with repeated exposures can be considered for treatment from their last known exposure. The decision to treat those exposed more than 72 hours prior to presentation should be made in conjunction with expert medical advice as treatment is not generally advisable in these situations. Recommendations for testing, STI treatments, and other supportive care remain unchanged for patients who present outside this window.

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