PEP - Page 4
Children over 14 years do not need a parent's or guardian's permission to have an HIV test or to take PEP. Children under 14 years require consent from a parent or guardian. In emergency cases such as rape, treatment can be given to children under 14 years on the authority of the doctor or hospital superintendent.
The health professionals and counselors who conduct and discuss the HIV test are bound, by the ethics, to keep the results strictly confidential. Other people, such as families or friends, will only be told of the results with the person's permission.
What does PEP involve?
PEP is a four-week program of antiretroviral medication that must be taken several times a day. The drugs can have unpleasant side effects such as nausea, headaches, fatigue, skin rashes, vomiting and diarrhoea. These side effects are not serious and usually do not last long. If they become difficult to cope with, a doctor should be consulted.
PEP is not 100% effective but becomes even less effective if doses are missed or if the full four-week program is not finished. It is important that a friend or family member support the rape survivor during treatment and make sure that the medication is taken properly for the full four weeks. Post-traumatic stress resulting from a rape can affect the person's ability to take medication reliably.
People receiving PEP should ideally be seen after one week and then again at six weeks, three months and six months after the exposure. HIV testing should be performed at the six-week, three-month and six month visits. If the person is still negative after six months they can know for sure that they have not contracted HIV disease as a result of the exposure.
Additional treatments given to rape survivors
Antibiotic treatments to prevent other sexually transmitted infections like venereal disease.
The 'morning after' pill to prevent pregnancy
Rape is very traumatic and rape survivors need both professional support and the support of families and friends. Rape survivors also have the right to be treated with respect and dignity at all times by the doctors, nurses, police officers, prosecutors, lawyers and social workers who help them after the rape.
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