Clinical Advice Service on Occupational Exposures to HIV Begins New Campaign to Meet National Need
Every day thousands of workplace exposures to HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C occur in the United States. Even with great advances in HIV and viral hepatitis prevention and treatment, exposure to bloodborne pathogens is a real risk in many occupations. The Clinician Consultation Center’s Post-Exposure Prophylaxis Hotline (or PEPline) has been the national resource in advising how to manage workplace exposures to HIV and hepatitis B and C for over 20 years. According to Dr. Ron Goldschmidt, director of the Clinician Consultation Center, “People don’t often think about the risks health care workers and other folks take every day in their line of work. At the PEPline, we are not only taking care of the medical needs of patients who get exposures to bloodborne pathogens, but we are also taking care of the stresses from being exposed to HIV or hepatitis B or C.” When someone might have been exposed to HIV, they can take medication, called post-exposure prophylaxis (or PEP), to prevent acquiring HIV. In these situations, PEP must be taken as soon as possible after the exposure. This is why the PEPline is so critical. As in many other fields, the advice from seasoned, respected professionals is an essential part of day-to-day operations. The PEPline is built into the fabric of how many medical centers, practices, clinics, and occupational health services operate, and has played a critical role in ensuring zero occupational HIV transmissions to healthcare workers in the U.S. since 1999.
Despite the invaluable service the PEPline provides, federal funding has not been able to keep up with the increased demand for expert consultations. For those who need the service, this will result in less-than-optimal service, as it is incredibly important to receive timely expert guidance in order to prevent HIV transmission. Recently the Clinician Consultation Center’s PEPline has had to reduce hours and staffing. In response to this, the Clinician Consultation Center is launching a crowdfunding campaign for the PEPline, a critical service for the thousands of employees who are affected in the United States every day.
To learn more about our crowdfunding effort, visit our campaign page.
About the Post-Exposure Prophylaxis Hotline (PEPline)
The PEPline provides rapid, expert guidance in managing occupational exposures to HIV and hepatitis B and C, including recommendations on when and how to initiate PEP to prevent transmission of bloodborne pathogens. The PEPline has provided over 150,000 consultations on managing occupational exposures since 1997. In 2016 alone, we provided almost 12,000 occupational exposure consultations. To learn more about this consultation service, visit our PEPline page.
The Clinician Consultation Center provides clinicians of all experience levels with prompt, expert responses to questions about managing bloodborne pathogen exposures (e.g. needlesticks and splashes), and advice on managing HIV/AIDS (e.g., antiretroviral selection, drug interactions and adverse reactions, HIV testing, co-infection management) and perinatal HIV (e.g., HIV testing and antiretroviral care in pregnancy, preventing transmission, infant care). Our services are for healthcare providers only. All of our services are cost-free and confidential.