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HIV can be stopped after being raped-Urgently contact hospital and get Post exposure Prophylisis

11 years ago | 11273 Views

Many women and girls get raped and they are not aware they can seek medical attention and get anti HIV drugs to stop progression of HIV.Any woman and just anyone who has sex without being sure of their sex partner must seek help



Brief  analysis of Rape HIV  and AIDS in Zimbabwe

Girl child Network (GCN) estimates that at least 6000 girls are raped annually in Zimbabwe. However, this figure is an underestimation as there is under reporting especially of early forced marriages, the so called economically coerced commercial sex rape in brothels involving underage girls and in any case since victims of rape are minors ( 0-12years) there is a lack of understanding of what rape is amongst them. The youngest married girl in Zimbabwe is aged 10 years, youngest rape survivor is a day old baby found dumped in Chitungwiza and the oldest rape survivor is aged 94 years from Hwange.


At any given month GCN rehabilitates an average of 60 sexually abused girls from at least 3 Girls Empowerment Villages. An estimated 25% of girls GCN deals with monthly are HIV positive.


There is a sharp difference between an empowered girl and one who is not when it comes to preventative strategies on rape. The girl who is empowered is well aware of the fact that rape is reported within 72 hours so as to get  Post –Exposure Prophylaxis( PEP).


What is Post Exposure Prophylaxis PEP?


Post exposure  prophylaxis ( PEP)


When one is exposed to risk of contracting HIV through contact with an HIV positive person, risk of HIV infection can be reduced by means of anti-retroviral  (ARV)  drugs taken over a period of four weeks.


GCN realizes that in the case of young girls exposed to HIV, ARVs  do not holistically empower the girl child  without on going support services  in counseling and clinical monitoring it is quite evident that girl child rape survivors rehabilitated through Girls Empowerment Villages with full medical, nutrition and peer to peer conselling support heal much faster that girls with no such support services.


Depending one one’s resistance, multiple NRTIs can be taken but these could have toxic effects which are minimal. AZT ( 200mg 8 hours 28 days ) and 3TC (150mg 12hourly for 28 days) girls under 12 years  receive this combination. Every girl child monitor and parents should ask doctors about the correct doses. Combivir can be used and it consists of both AZT and 3TC.


PEP drug effects are rare but there are temporary side effects like nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, muscle pains, etc.


GCN, Rape and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis


Through the Girls At Risk Support Unit (GARSU) GCN has run Girls Empowerment Villages since 2000 after realization that though girls were empowered to break silence on rape in the home, school, and community no justice, therapy and  rehabilitation could be achieved if the girl remained in the same abusive environments with the  perpetrator. GCN’s innovative idea of setting up four strategically positioned Girls Empowerment Villages which service a multi- function of providing a strong referral to service providers and at the same time ensuring that a girl is fully empowered to take up all treatment provided by doctors, attend court sessions and register with a school.. GCN admitted the first HIV positive and sexually abused girls raped by their own father in 2000. Since then many sexually abused girls have been assisted through GCN.


For girl child rape survivors, a vaccine or any form of treatment to stop progression of the HIV virus greatly saves the lives of girls. The first girl who got PEP from our Girls Empowerment Villages within 72 hours was an eight year old girl in June 2002. By end of 2004 a lot more girls in Chitungwiza and Harare accessed PEP from the referral Provincial hospitals especially Chitungwiza and Parirenyatwa. In 2004 GCN and Doctors Without Borders entered a partnership where PEP was popularized. The more communities appreciate PEP, the more fresh cases of rape are reported on time.


GCN provides emergency temporary shelter for rape survivors and is concerned about the way incidents of rape in the country that put girls at risk of contracting HIV are not addressed. GCN is fully cognizant of the fact that PEP is not available in the most parts of the country and advocacy and lobby efforts targeting relevant Government ministries are underway.


Why PEP?


It has been researched (  CDC1997 ) that if one is a health worker and due to needle pricking is exposed to HIV and within a few hours of exposure and continuing for four weeks if ARVs  are administered HIV infection risk is greatly reduced. The same young girls exposed to HIV infection through rape can also be assisted the same way reducing infection risk.



PEP is administered to girls only when:


·         They report rape within 72hours. At the just ended AIDS International Conference 2006 in Toronto Canada there was information that PEP could be administered within 14 days. 


·         PEP is administered through Zimbabwe’s major provincial hospitals like Chitungwiza, Harare central hospital, Mpilo hospital etc. GCN rehabilitates rape survivors in Girls Empowerment Villages and GCN concern is that girls access  PEP  and follow treatment procedures and Girl Child Monitors are there to ensure adherence to treatment 


·         There is no clear consensus on the limit for administering PEP. Studies show that PEP given 24 hours after exposure and continued for 28 days is more effective than administering PEP at 72 hours and so GCN  always advises and counsels  girls, parents and guardians to ask experienced doctors.


How to make PEP effective


·         Immediately after rape a girl should be put on PEP. After 72 hours it is too late

·         STI and pregnancy tests must be conducted

·         Practice safe sex and for children minimize exposure to multiple sexual abuse

·         Take medication as prescribed for 28 days

·         Every girl must have follow up HIV tests and post rape counselling after every six weeks, HIV results may indicate negative within a year after the rape incident

·         Girls who fall pregnant should also take PEP


PEP drugs

·         A lot of parents and girls lack full knowledge about drugs prescribed to them. Many of them do not seek further information from doctors. It is a right to know what drugs you are taking and what they can do for you. Healing is faster when the mind is fully  aware of medicine being taken

·         PEP consists of one, or of a combination of two or three antiretroviral medication taken several times per day for four weeks

·         PEP is not yet available nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (  NRTIs ) and protease inhibitors.


Factors in treatment effectiveness

Drug compliance 

For girls in the Girls Empowerment Villages, GCN was a girls clinic where pep drug amongst other are kept and each girl has a record of drug use no girl takes medication in the absence of a trained girl child monitor. Most girls are not fully aware of what happens to them in terms of drug resistance. If they don’t take the prescribed medicine


Counselling and girl child empowerment

GCN emphasizes to rape survivors that there is no empowerment if a girl is not mentally and physically healthy.



GCN Future Plan of Action on PEP


·         To popularise PEP  especially in remote parts of the country

·         To make GCN and other stakeholders contact accessible in case of emergencies

·         To continue lobbying government and the donor community to prioritise PEP  programmes

·         To simplify  PEP  educational information for girls and women

·         To continue supporting rape survivors on PEP  and empower them to be peer educators

·         Encourage the media to write on PEP


Without PEP, the window of Hope is not there












3 bettymakoni


Comment as Anonymous Submit
myAfroTube 11 years
This is the first time I have had about this, thank you Betty for your blogs I am a following all the way.
Anonymous user 9 years
How about boys that are abused, what options are there?
Anonymous user 5 years
Can one get this PEP even though they where not raped? As in maybe you where at a party and got caught up in things you didn't wanna do? Like, you got intoxicated and just happened to do it?
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