For the next 18-months, people who have had a high-risk exposure to HIV/AIDS – whether through sexual contact or by sharing needles – will be able to access highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), which is typically used to substantially reduce the viral load in HIV-positive patients.
According to Dr. Val Montessori, people who start HAART treatment within 72 hours of being exposed to HIV are 80 per cent less likely to become infected by the virus.
“Time really is of the essence,” said Montessori. “They can just walk in [to St. Paul’s Hospital] and the staff is ready to go. After 72 hours, the effectiveness falls off quickly.”
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