After rape, many women run home to hide because of the disgust, pain and shame. Whereas it is understandable and expected, by doing this you might keep yourself attached to the rapist forever by catching HIV or having a pregnancy. Thinking about your safety however difficult and walking into a hospital is the best option for you. You could go with a friend or family member you trust.
LinkmeUg interviewed Dr Yvette Wibabara of International Medical Link about what happens in hospital when a rape victim goes for tests.
LinkmeUg: How long should one take to come to hospital?
Dr. Yvette: The treatment given in hospitals is more protective when taken immediately. Meaning that the longer the period before the drug is taken, the less effective it will be. Maximum time is 72 hours – 3 days but the drugs are more effective for a person who came a few minutes or hours after the incident. Anything beyond 3 days is too late for HIV.
LinkmeUg: What happens the minute I walk into a hospital?
Dr. Yvette: Expect to be welcomed and handled with respect; so trust the medical worker and give her/him all the details. Carry all the clothes involved in the incident if you can.
LinkmeUg: What tests are handled at the hospital and why?
Dr: Yvette: We test the victim for HIV, pregnancy, blood groups for badly injured patients [for blood transfusion] tissue tears and other body injuries. Some hospitals now test for Hepatitis because it is also sexually transmitted. These tests are relevant because they determine if the victim should be given preventive drugs or not. If she is already pregnant or she already had the HIV virus before the incident, she will not be given drugs to prevent HIV infection or pregnancy.
LinkmeUg: In your experience, do victims come to hospital in time?
Dr. Yvette: Not usually, most wait until they realize they are pregnant and this is usually over 2 months and by that time, it is really late. We can no longer prevent HIV or the pregnancy.
LinkmeUg: What about a victim who decides to take ARVs or a morning after pill on their own?
Dr: Yvette: It is not advisable; whereas Post exposure Prophylaxis – PEP is made up of ARVS, not all patients take the same drugs so don’t pick someone else’s drugs and swallow them. You are playing with your life because they will not work. Go to a hospital and receive the right treatment. Though the morning after pill may work for the pregnancy, it does not handle the HIV virus so come to hospital as soon as it happens.
- Dr Yvette Wibabara
- International medical link
- Afri Courts Wandegeya
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