Originally created 09/25/98

Using AIDS drugs to prevent infection unproven and risky



ATLANTA -- Government health officials warned doctors Thursday that prescribing AIDS drugs as a "morning-after" treatment for people who have been exposed to the virus through sex and drugs carries heavy risks and hasn't been proved successful.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said doctors should not give the treatment to patients on demand.

Although early doses of AIDS drugs appear to have stopped some infections among medical workers exposed to tainted blood and among newborns of infected women, there is still no proof such treatment would be effective with the general population, the CDC said.

The risks range from nausea to hepatitis, the agency said.

"This is not candy you just give out to make patients feel better," said Dr. Dawn Smith, a CDC epidemiologist.