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In light of the absence of such randomized trials, the CDC convened a meeting of the interagency PHS working group and an expert panel of consultants in July 2011 to discuss the use of HIV PEP and develop the recommendations for this update.
This report emphasizes the importance of primary prevention strategies, the prompt reporting and management of occupational exposures, adherence to recommended HIV PEP regimens when indicated for an exposure, expert consultation in management of exposures, follow-up of exposed HCP to improve adherence to PEP, and careful monitoring for adverse events related to treatment, as well as for virologic, immunologic, and serologic signs of infection.
To ensure timely postexposure management and administration of HIV PEP, clinicians should consider occupational exposures as urgent medical concerns, and institutions should take steps to ensure that staff are aware of both the importance of and the institutional mechanisms available for reporting and seeking care for such exposures.
The following is a summary of recommendations: (1) PEP is recommended when occupational exposures to HIV occur; (2) the HIV status of the exposure source patient should be determined, if possible, to guide need for HIV PEP; (3) PEP medication regimens should be started as soon as possible after occupational exposure to HIV, and they should be continued for a 4-week duration; (4) new recommendation—PEP medication regimens should contain 3 (or more) antiretroviral drugs (listed in Appendix A) for all occupational exposures to HIV; (5) expert consultation is recommended for any occupational exposures to HIV and at a minimum for situations described in Box 1; (6) close follow-up for exposed personnel (Box 2) should be provided that includes counseling, baseline and follow-up HIV testing, and monitoring for drug toxicity; follow-up appointments should begin within 72 hours of an HIV exposure; and (7) new recommendation—if a newer fourth-generation combination HIV p24 antigen–HIV antibody test is utilized for follow-up HIV testing of exposed HCP, HIV testing may be concluded 4 months after exposure (Box 2); if a newer testing platform is not available, follow-up HIV testing is typically concluded 6 months after an HIV exposure.
Preventing exposures to blood and body fluids (ie, primary prevention) is the most important strategy for preventing occupationally acquired human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
Both individual healthcare providers and the institutions that employ them should work to ensure adherence to the principles of Standard Precautions, including ensuring access to and consistent use of appropriate work practices, work practice controls, and personal protective equipment.