Post-exposure Prophylaxis for HIV in Children and Adolescents
Adapted from the Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) for HIV Treatment Protocol
UMass Memorial Medical Center
Department of Medicine - Division of Infectious Disease
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. It can be transmitted from one person to another through exposure of blood or body fluids that contain the virus. Fluids that contain the virus are blood, semen, vaginal fluid and breast milk. Sweat, tears, saliva, urine and stool do not contain significant quantities of HIV unless there is blood mixed with them. HIV is not transmitted through intact skin. Bites very rarely transmit HIV. No HIV infections have been documented from injuries from needles discarded in public settings. Post-exposure prophylaxis medications are not routinely given for these situations.
The principal risks of acquiring HIV infection are through unprotected sexual contact, an infant born to an HIV infected woman, breast feeding and percutaneous (through the skin) exposure to an infected person's blood.
It is not possible to completely eliminate the risk that someone will develop HIV infection after they have had a significant exposure to the virus. However, studies in health care workers who have had needle stick exposures have shown that post-exposure treatment with anti-HIV medications can reduce the risk by about 80 percent. This means that there is a greatly decreased chance that someone will develop HIV infection.
If the risk of infection is high, it is important that prophylaxis with anti-HIV medications be started immediately. There may be side effects associated with the use of these medications. These are detailed in the information pages given to you. If side effects occur, please contact your primary care physician or the pediatric infectious disease service at UMass Memorial before stopping medications. Contact information is below.
Current recommendations state that medications used for PEP to prevent HIV infection be taken for 28 days. Blood tests will be done while taking these medications to monitor side effects. The decision as to whether someone should take post exposure prophylaxis for HIV infection requires weighing the seriousness of the exposure to the virus verses the risk of possible side effects from the post exposure prophylaxis medications.
UMass Memorial staff will work with the primary care physician to determine appropriate follow-up care.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Pediatric Infectious Disease Clinic at 508-856-3947 between 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. After 5 pm, weekends or holidays, contact the pediatric infectious disease physician on-call through the page operator at 508-334-1000.