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On Truvada, blood tests remain negative. Side effects of gland pain. Is 3 months a sufficient time to prevent HIV?

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HIV AIDS Specialist
Practicing since : 1974
Answered : 2712 Questions
Hi Doctor. Almost 3 months ago, I found out that I'm at risk of getting HIV. Nine hours after the risk of exposure, I already saw the ER doctor who put me on Truvada and Sustiva. She said that Sustiva should be taken only for one month. I think that when she talked about Truvada, she also mentioned only one month of taking it. Now, I've been taking Truvada for almost 3 months although all my blood tests kept coming negative. When I asked my regular physician if I could stop taking Truvada 3 months after starting it, if my 3 months test is negative (as it was), he said "no" and added that I have to continue it for 6 months altogether. I think he is protecting himself more than cares about me, because I already have side effects from taking it such as pain in my glands. I still gonna do what he said because he is my doctor, but I just need to hear a second opinion. Is 3 months a sufficient time to prevent HIV? Is there chance that HIV, which is not prevented in 3 months by Truvada, can be prevented in 6 months by Truvada? How much the chance of getting HIV becomes less for 3 additional months of taking this medecine?
Posted Sat, 25 May 2013 in HIV and AIDS
Answered by Dr. S. Murugan 3 hours later
Welcome to XXXXXXX
Thanks for posting your query.

You are taking truvada and Sustiva 9 hours after your risky exposure. This is called as Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) and indicated only for occupational exposures of health care workers. I don't know about your risk.

HIV after entered into body it will take around 72 hours to establish an infection in the body. If one starts treatment within this time we can abort the disease and it is called as "window of opportunity". But nowadays they recommend PEP as early as possible, preferably within 24 hours.
You had started the same within 9 hours. So it is well and good. The drugs are recommended only for 4 weeks, not as your physician's recommendation up to 6 months.

You have to repeat the test after 3 months and after 6 months . If it is negative after 6 months you are safe and free from HIV.
Nothing to fear. You will be alright.
Dr S.Murugan
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: On Truvada, blood tests remain negative. Side effects of gland pain. Is 3 months a sufficient time to prevent HIV? 15 minutes later
When you tell that I have to repeat the test after 3 months and after 6 months, do you mean from the moment of exposure or from the day I stopped taking the medication?
Also, I look at the calendar now and see that the blood test was taken not after 3 months as I first mistakenly told, but actually after 77 days after the risky exposure. Does this test have any value or is my doctor totally unqualified?
Answered by Dr. S. Murugan 1 hour later

Welcome back.

The tests have to be repeated after 3 months and 6 months after the risky exposure not from the date of stopping your medication. If it is nonreactive after 6 months you are free from HIV.
I will not say that your physician is unqualified . She may be little over conscious about your health.She put the right choice of drugs. But the recommendation is to take drugs for 4 weeks and has to be followed up for 6 months.
Dr .S.Murgan
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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