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JAMA. 2000 Sep 27;284(12):1516-8.

Postexposure prophylaxis for HIV after sexual assault.



This paper presents the findings of a retrospective review of charts of sexual assault survivors who were offered postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) between April 1998 and November 1999 at San Francisco General Hospital. The total cost of PEP medications was also computed. Overall, it is noted that one-third of the 367 sexual assault survivors chose to initiate PEP. Men who were anally raped are at the highest risk for HIV transmission and were most likely to initiate PEP. Among women, on the other hand, those who were non-White and homeless were less likely to accept PEP. In the context of cost, the total per-person cost of medication dispensed during the study period (US$65 per person offered PEP) is comparable to other medications offered routinely following sexual assault, such as azithromycin for chlamydia prophylaxis (US$43 per treatment). However, there is no definitive evidence that PEP is effective in preventing HIV seroconversion after sexual assault. It is suggested that in developing rational policy recommendation offering HIV PEP after sexual assault, further studies are needed to better delineate the rates of HIV seroprevalence among sexual assailants, the efficacy of PEP after sexual exposure, and the psychological benefits or harm incurred by the sexually assaulted patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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