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E. Drug Intervention Before Initial Spread of HIV Infection

Narrator: This is Science Today. The latest AIDS research out of the University of California, San Francisco, is focusing on a medical treatment that could prevent the transmission of HIV following an exposure. Dr. Michelle Roland says their work focuses on intervention before the initial spread of the infection

Roland: So what we think happens is that there is some local infection, but that that infection for the vast majority of the time cleared, and it's not until that 3-5 day time point when the virus has been integrated into the actual immune system cells and circulating in the bloodstream that the person is actually infected.

Narrator: The treatment, called post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP, has to be started in that three-day window before the virus takes hold in order to be effective.

Roland: The risks are the symptomatic side effects, the potential for more serious side effects. So the benefit is going to be related to how risky it is, how likely it is that you have been exposed to HIV.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.