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Ask Dr. K

A friend of mine (no, really!) has started seeing a guy who's HIV+. They haven't had sex yet, and might not, but it got me to wondering. If you are topped by an HIV+ guy and you found out afterwards that the condom broke, is there anything you can do to reduce the likelihood of infection?

Yes. In many cities, like San Francisco, after having a known exposure to HIV -- being topped by an HIV+ guy and then the condom breaks -- a guy can start PEP, or post-exposure prevention, which is a combination of anti-HIV medications. The important thing is that these medications have to be started as soon as possible, ideally within four hours, but it may be OK within 72 hours after exposure. Most emergency rooms and doctors know about PEP and can prescribe it. It's not one dose -- you have to take meds for a month and they can make you ill -- so I don't recommend it except in real emergencies. To learn more about PEP, go to the UCSF HIV Insite Web site and type PEP in the Search box.

To your health,
Dr. K

Last modified on Thursday, November 19, 2009.
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