Rhode Island publishes HIV postexposure treatment guidelines
Rhode Island has become the first state to publish guidelines on postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) for people who are exposed to HIV in non-health care settings, the Providence Journal reports. The guidelines call for a month-long, two-drug regimen in most situations and a three-drug regimen for those who had contact with someone known to be HIV-positive. The drugs, if administered within 72 hours of possible exposure to HIV through unprotected sex, shared needles, or exposure to other bodily fluids, can prevent the exposed person from becoming infected.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1996 issued PEP guidelines for health care workers exposed to HIV through needle-stick injuries and other accidents. New York and California have established prophylaxis guidelines for sexual assault victims, but Rhode Island is the first state to address preventative drug treatments for all instances of HIV exposure. The month-long, anti-HIV PEP drug regimens are typically covered by private insurance plans in the state and by Rhode Island's Medicaid program, say state health officials. The guidelines can be seen online at www.healthri.org.