What is included in patient education about HIV postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) following a sexual assault?

Updated: Jul 08, 2021
  • Author: Derek T Larson, DO; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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If HIV nPEP is offered, the following information should be discussed with the patient:

  • The low risk of HIV infection following a single sexual encounter
  • The theoretical but unproven benefit and known toxicities of antiretrovirals
  • The importance of close follow-up
  • The importance of adherence to recommended dosing to prevent selection of resistant viruses
  • The necessity of early initiation of PEP to optimize potential benefits (ie, as soon as possible and up to 72 hours after the assault)
  • Cost of the medication regimen

Patients should be informed that various payment methods for nPEP are available for survivors of sexual assault, including Medicaid, Medicare, or Crime Victims Compensation. Third-party reimbursement may cover nPEP, depending on the plan’s prescription drug policy, if the individual has prescription drug coverage. In cases where the medication-dispensing facility does not receive reimbursement for these services, such expenses may be included in their annual Institutional Cost Report as part of indigent care costs.

The Crime Victim’s Board (CVB) has developed special procedures to ensure availability of nPEP for sexual assault victims. Victims of sexual assault may also contact a Rape Crisis Center or Victims Services Agency in their county or region for assistance in filing claims with the CVB, particularly when emergency assistance is needed. Many of these agencies have 24-hour hotlines. For more information about accessing Crime Victims Compensation and for a list of Victims Services Agencies and other resources, consult the CVB website.

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