Rape: Preventing HIV after rape

1. Go to a doctor as soon as you can. Ask about anti-retroviral medicines that could reduce the risk of getting HIV (called PEP) (It is also safe for children that have been raped to take these medicines). You must start taking the medicine as soon as possible. If more than 72 hours (3 days) have passed since you were raped, it is too late for these medicines to work. You should not take them.

Ask the doctor to give you an HIV test. Before taking an HIV test you must be counselled and receive information about what the test means. You should also get counselling after you receive the results of an HIV test.
While you are waiting for the results of the HIV test, the doctor may give you the medicine so that you can start taking it immediately. This is called a starter pack.
If you test HIV positive, stop taking the medicines. Ask the doctor about things you can do to look after yourself when you have HIV. Find out about organisations and people that can help you live positively.
If you test HIV negative, take the medicine for 28 days . Remember that the starter pack of 3 days medicine will not protect you from HIV. You must take the full course for all 28 days or it will not work.
These medicines are strong and may have side-effects like headaches, tiredness, skin rash, a running stomach, nausea and others. These side-effects are usually not serious and will not last long. If the side-effects are very unpleasant, go back to the doctor.
Have another HIV test after six weeks, three months and again six months after the rape. If you test HIV negative each time, it means that you did not contract HIV from the rape.

Where can I get these medicines?

State hospitals and some clinics for free. Call the AIDS Helpline (Tel: 0800-012-322) and ask them where you can get these medicines. You can also get these medicines at a chemist , but you will need a prescription and they may be very expensive to buy. If you are on medical aid, check whether your medical aid pays for them.