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Most Sexually Assaulted Teens Don't Finish HIV Therapy

Study finds fewer than 15 percent complete full 28-day round of antiretroviral meds

THURSDAY, July 6 (HealthDay News) -- Only about 15 percent of adolescents treated for sexual assault at emergency departments return to complete a full round of antiretroviral therapy to prevent HIV infection, according to a report in the July issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Elyse Olshen, M.D., M.P.H., from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues conducted a chart review of 145 adolescents presenting to one of two Boston emergency departments because of a penetrating sexual assault, to examine the use of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for HIV.

The investigators found that 96 percent of the 12- to 22-year-old patients were female and many were unsure about the extent of their exposure. Of the 145 patients, 110 (76 percent) received PEP in the form of antiretroviral medication during their initial visit, however, only 37 returned for at least one follow-up visit and just 13 completed the full 28-day course.

"Patient education and a comprehensive follow-up system with extensive outreach and case management are necessary to encourage PEP adherence and return for follow-up care among adolescent sexual assault survivors," the authors conclude.

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