HIV-infected patients with sexual partners, or patients with a sexual partner of unknown status, may present to the ED after sexual encounters during which barrier methods of protection are compromised, ie, condom breakage or lack of condom usage. In these instances, the emergency clinician must counsel the patient regarding PEP and potentially initiate treatment. The ED is also a frequent portal of entry for healthcare workers and others with potential exposures to HIV through percutaneous or mucous membrane exposure. The risk of HIV transmission depends on both the type of exposure and stage of illness in the source of the exposure (if known).
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