This report updates and consolidates all previous PHS recommendations for the management of health-care workers (HCWs) who have occupational exposure to blood and other body fluids that may contain human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); it includes recommendations for HIV postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) and discusses the scientific rationale for PEP. The decision to recommend HIV postexposure prophylaxis must take into account the nature of the exposure (e.g., needle stick or potentially infectious fluid that comes in contact with a mucous membrane) and the amount of blood or body fluid involved in the exposure. Other considerations include pregnancy in the HCW and exposure to virus known or suspected to be resistant to antiretroviral drugs. Assessments of the risk for infection resulting form the exposure and the infectivity of the exposure source are key determinants of offering PEP. Systems should be in place for the timely evaluation and management of exposed HCWs and for consultation with experts in the treatment of HIV when using PEP. Recommendations for PEP have been modified to include a basic 4-week regimen of two drugs (zidovudine and lamivudine) for most HIV exposures and an expanded regimen that includes the addition of a protease inhibitor (indinavir or nelfinavir) for HIV exposures that pose an increased risk for transmission or where resistance to one or more of the antiretroviral agents recommended for PEP is known or suspected. An algorithm is provided to guide clinicians and exposed health-care workers in deciding when to consider PEP. Occupational exposures should be considered urgent medical concerns to ensure timely administration of PEP. Health-care organizations should have protocols that promote prompt reporting and facilitate access to postexposure care. Enrollment of HCWs in registries designed to assess side effects in HCWs who take PEP is encouraged.
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