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Child Abuse Negl. 2006 Aug;30(8):919-27.

Use of antiretroviral HIV post-exposure prophylaxis in sexually abused children and adolescents treated in an inner-city pediatric emergency department.

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Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine, 49 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive, S.E., Atlanta, GA 30303, USA.



In 2002, Georgia had the United States' eighth highest number of persons living with AIDS. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission as a result of sexual abuse is uncommon but definitely occurs. In certain circumstances of sexual abuse, antiretroviral post-exposure prophylaxis (ARV-PEP) has been suggested as a means to decrease the risk of HIV infection. Our objective was to assess the utilization of ARV-PEP in patients being evaluated for sexual abuse at a pediatric emergency department in a city with high HIV prevalence.


A retrospective survey of the characteristics of sexual abuse victims was conducted using information abstracted from sexual abuse report forms of minors examined in 2002 at an inner-city Atlanta children's hospital.


Of 227 victims, aged 9 months to 18 years, most were Black, inner-city residents; 190 (84%) patients were female. Only 87 of 227 (38.3%) were seen within 72 h of the abuse, the time frame for offering ARV-PEP. Twenty-three of the 87 had anogenital trauma or bleeding. Five (5.7%), were provided ARV-PEP, whereas 60 (69%) received antibiotic prophylaxis for non-HIV diseases. Those assaulted by strangers were greater than 10 times more likely to be provided ARV-PEP than others (p=.02). Assailants of the 82 victims who did not receive ARV-PEP included 22 strangers and 60 "acquaintances" of unknown serostatus.


For a high HIV prevalence area, the proportion of sexual abuse victims prescribed ARV-PEP was small in relation to those at risk of HIV sexual exposure. Clinicians should be provided guidance on interpretation of community HIV and sexual abuse victim data to assess the appropriateness of ARV-PEP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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