The United States Public Health Service just this year has released updates to the occupational exposure to HIV procedures. These updates are effective immediately and are aimed at reducing the risk of infection in healthcare workers who have come in contact with the HIV virus. Of course, the focus of any healthcare establishment is to reduce or eliminate the potential of exposure. However, for those times when exposure does occur, this new regimen has been streamlined to be more effective.

The previous guidelines began the process with an evaluation. This was used to determine the level of exposure and helped doctors decide which medications would be most beneficial to use. Recent changes include the elimination of the assessment and proceed right to the taking of three antiretroviral drugs. These three have proved easier to tolerate in patients.

Ideally, officials hope that these new standards will allow healthcare workers to begin treatment within hours after the initial exposure. Care, counseling, treatment and follow up are expected to all take place within a 3 day period. This puts the emphasis on immediate care. The newer guidelines have been revised so as to help those exposed to receive quick, appropriate care and stick with the regimen. To help make the required treatments easier to handle, a four month care option is offered along with the longer six month plan. All of this has been put into place with the hope that those exposed will complete the recommended course of action.

Seeing as an expert in the HIV field may not be readily available at the time of the exposure, a set of the aforementioned guidelines should be given to emergency personnel and providers. These are the ones likely to be the first responders to an incident. Again, it is the timely initiation of the regimen that is emphasized with these new regulations.