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Rape - terrified
Apr 4, 2008

Dear Dr. Bob

Gosh, I am so pleased to find this website - thank you.

I have just been through a very horrible experience. I was at home by myself one night when a group of men broke into the house. Here in South Africa, people don't just rob you when they break into your house they rape as well. So I was terrified as it was my worst nightmare come true. Somehow during this horrific experience I managed to tell these guys that I was in fact HIV+ and having my period so if they didn't want to get infected they had better use a condom (which I keep in the house anyway because my boyfriend and I use them). How I managed to convince them I don't know but I just reached into the medicine cabinet and took out all the medicine I could find and told him this wall the medication I had to take for HIV. I am not sure if you know in SA there is a huge discrepancy between educated and the marginally educated and I believe I was able to pull this off as a result of these people not knowing any better. Anyhow 2 of the guys decided they would rather not risk it, however the leader of the gang went ahead and raped me, using one of my condoms. THe only thing I could think about was saving my own life so I just went through with it.

I have obviously been and am still going for trauma counselling and seeing a phychiatrist aswell as having been put on anti depressants as I am having a really difficult time dealing with this whole issue.

The doctors that I was taken to after the incidence told me that there was no need for me to go onto ARV because I had used a condom, but I don't know if it is the whole trauma of event but I just can't shake the feeling that somehow I did contract HIV.

Please Doctor, if you are able to put my mind at rest that I shouldn't have gone onto ARV's I will feel much happier.

Many thanks for you time and work that you do to help others in need.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

So a group of men broke into your house to rob and rape you and you managed to convince them you were HIV positive and having your period???? And you convinced them to use a condom. Hmm . . . that's quite a story. A bit unbelievable, but quite a story nonetheless. I would agree with the information and advice you received from your doctor. If the latex condom was used properly and didn't' fail, the HIV-transmission risk would be essentially nonexistent. Regarding the use of antiretroviral medications for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), I would agree it was not warranted. It would also need to be started as soon as possible and no later than 72 hours after the exposure. Consequently it's no longer even an option for you.

If you continue to worry about possible HIV infection, get a single rapid HIV test at the three-month mark. I also encourage you to continue with your counseling and antidepressant medication.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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