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J Infect. 2001 Oct;43(3):191-4.

Provision of drugs for post-exposure prophylaxis of HIV for medical students on overseas electives.

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  • 1Infection and Immunodeficiency Unit, Tayside University Teaching Hospital, Dundee, DD3 8EA, UK.



To assess the need for, and the most practical way to provide, HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for medical students travelling to areas where this is not readily available.


Follow-up questionnaire for all 140 students from Dundee University returning from their medical elective in 2000, 22 of whom took triple therapy for PEP with them on elective.


103/140 students (74%) returned questionnaires. 76/103 (74%) were involved in exposure-prone procedures and 38/103 (37%) reported a significant exposure to potentially infective fluids. Six of this group considered PEP but none reported using it. The greatest perceived risk on elective remained road accidents. 87/103 respondents thought a 24-h helpline for health issues on electives would be useful.


A high number of students report significant exposure to potentially infected fluids and this needs to be urgently addressed. There was almost unanimous endorsement of the idea of providing PEP and when it is made easily available prior to travel, students are willing to take it to areas where it is not available. In response to the survey, the investigators are looking at how to increase the current limited supply of PEP (Students may have to pay part of the cost) and the best way to provide a helpline, as it is felt that this could have a broad impact on student safety on electives, not just for issues involving PEP.

Copyright 2001 The British Infection Society.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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