Explaining PEP to HCWs
Recommendations for chemoprophylaxis should be explained to HCW's who have sustained occupational HIV exposures (Figure 1). For exposures for which PEP is considered appropriate, HCW's should be informed that
Knowledge about the efficacy and toxicity of drugs used for PEP are limited
Only ZDV has been shown to prevent HIV transmission in humans
There are no data to address whether adding other antiretroviral drugs provides any additional benefit for PEP, but experts recommend combination drug regimens because of increased potency and concerns about drug-resistant virus
Data regarding toxicity of antiretroviral d rugs in persons without H IV infection or in pregnant women arc limited for ZDV and not known regarding other antiretroviral drugs
Any or all drugs for PEP may be declined by the HCW
HCW's who have HIV occupational exposures for which PEP is not recommended should be informed that the potential side effects and toxicity of taking PEP outweigh the negligible risk of transmission posed by the type of exposure.