Chances of contracting HIV after rape?
Nov 25, 2017
Hello. I was raped two days ago. It was anal sex and he did not use protection. This was my first time and it was solely anal. I'm aware that the person who raped me has had multiple sex partners before me. I think it's too early for symptoms to arise but I was wondering what are the chances of me contracting something? Unfortunately, I am in a very difficult situation due to my place of residence. If I get myself checked for HIV and I do turnout to have HIV, I face the risk of being deported despite being a victim. It is, however, easier to get checked for STD's and I will unlikely face any repercussions. I don't feel the same knowing I could have contracted something. I'm 17 years old and I simply don't know what to do next. Any advice would be highly appreciated.
Response from Mr. Jacobs
First - my deepest respect and regards to you for sharing this question. I am so very sorry that you experienced this form of violence. There is no excuse for these types of actions, and my heart and thoughts are with you during this scary and confusing time. I hope first and foremost you understand that: (1) You did nothing to incur this type of violence, and (2) Now is the time to ask for support. I don't know your location, but if there are any resources, therapists, or groups for rape survivors, please consider using them. Rape can be traumatizing, and if it's not discussed and shared early on it can lead to later symptoms of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).
I don't know the area you're in, but it sounds like you are aware that testing for HIV could be detrimental to your residence. But what about using PEP ("Post-exposure prophylaxis")? I am receiving your question within a few hours of you sending it, and you are saying this happened two days ago, so it seems likely you could do something now to prevent the possibility of HIV.
PEP is a 28 day pill regimen that is extremely helpful to prevent HIV. PEP is generally begun within 72 hours after a potential exposure to HIV, the sooner the better. Are any of the facilities that provide STD testing able to provide PEP? If they don't know about PEP, then they could learn through these resources listed by the World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/hiv/topics/prophylaxis/info/en/ .
I understand the experience of not feeling the same knowing you could have contracted something. Many survivors of sexual assault report feeling tainted, dirty, or 'infected" after such an experience. It is completely understandable given what happened, and how your control was taken from you by your assaulter. Again, please understand that what happened to you was not your fault, and does not in any way change the relevance, meaning, and vitality of who you are.
Truth is, the likelihood of contracting HIV after one encounter is extremely low, less than 1.43% (https://www.poz.com/article/HIV-risk-25382-5829). And even if you had contracted HIV or any STI it certainly would not be your fault. I think the next steps of your recovery process will be sharing these feelings and fears with a trusted adult / counselor in your area.
I don't know your gender from this letter. But there are many websites available online that offer support to rape survivors around the globe. This website specifically offers resources and support for male survivors of sexual assault globally: http://amensproject.com/male-survivors-of-abuse/
Finally, it can't be stated enough times you are not responsible for what happened. Yes, you may feel different for awhile. You may have trouble sleeping, concentrating, focusing. You may have mood swings, fears, hyper-sensitivity to certain smells or sounds. I promise you this will not last forever.
You never go back to being the exact same person you were after surviving a violent trauma. But instead many come through such an event with a deeper sense of resilience, strength, identity, and compassion than before. It is often through adversity that we become more well-rounded, wise, and available to help others. I promise you I would not be here as an "expert" answering your question if I too hadn't survived challenges and traumas early in my life.
I do hope you will consider finding how to receive PEP in your area (http://www.who.int/hiv/topics/prophylaxis/info/en/) and take the steps to physically and emotionally come back from this experience. Many of us here at The Body.com can relate and will be sending you love, courage, and strength. Please let us know how you are feeling. -- Damon
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