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HIV Rape Case
Aug 8, 2005

I was raped in November and tested negative for HIV in March. Last week, the rapist has been calling me telling me he has aids and now I have it too. Do you think I need to retest and what are the chances that I had a false negative test?

Response from Dr. Sherer

I am deeply distressed by your story - not as much by the risk of HIV as the ongoing violence that you are facing in the hands of the one who raped you, and now is harassing you. If you have a trusted friend with some knowledge of the criminal justice system in the country in which you live, or alternately an advocacy organization that has experience in providing assistance to women (or men) who have been raped, I urge you to tell your story to them, and seek their help. This person is a criminal, whatever the laws in your country, and you have a right to be free from the ongoing violence that you are experiencing. If neither of the resources that I have suggested are available to you, then I suggest that you seek the help of your physician, in order to obtain information as to where you can get the help that you need. If a trustworthy physician is also not available, then you will have to use your judgement as to where you can find a trustworthy individual to help you. It may be a community leader, a police man or woman, a church member, or simply a person of the same gender whom you trust and respect.

As to your question - it is recommended that HIV testing be done after an exposure at 1,3,6, and 12 months - so yes, you should have one more HIV antibody test. The vast majority of tests will have turned positive by 6 months following an exposure if infection has occured...but not 100%. The chance that you have had a false negative test to date is in the range of 1-2%.

I make no assumptions about the part of the world where this email comes from. Here in the US, 2/3 of women who have HIV have experienced physical and emotional violence as a consequence of having HIV. In South Africa, 50% of women have been the victims of rape. It is likely that this email came from a woman, as women are victimized sexually over 10 times more than men - but in all cases, it is a crime.


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