Postexposure Prophylaxis Compliance Low for Sexual Assault in South Africa
October 14, 2005
The current study sought to describe the demographic characteristics of victims of sexual assault in Transkei region, South Africa, and to assess the outcome of HIV transmission and evaluate the success of postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) after its implementation there. An earlier study found that more than 90 percent of sexual assault victims were HIV-seronegative at the time of the incident despite high HIV prevalence in the community.
The present study examined 594 victims of sexual assault at Sinawe Center from 2000-2003. Of those, 346 (58.2 percent) were under age 15. "Seventeen children (2.9 percent) were found to be HIV positive at the first test," B.L. Meel and colleagues at the University of Transkei in Umtata reported. "Among the adults, 58 (9.8 percent) tested HIV positive. Of the 225 who attended after PEP was introduced, only two were found to be HIV seropositive at the time of the incident."
Investigators continued, "A second test was recommended after 4 weeks and a third after 12 weeks. The majority of the victims did not report for the second test, but all 35 who did come to be tested were seronegative. Seventeen of those were between 11-15 years of age."
The scientists reported that only seven victims came for the third test, and they were negative. Nausea and vomiting were the most common side effects of PEP in four patients and one developed a generalized rash. Only one victim seroconverted.
The study, "HIV/AIDS Postexposure Prophylaxis (PEP) for Victims of Sexual Assault in South Africa," appeared in Medicine, Science and the Law (2005;45(3):219-24).
AIDS Weekly & Law
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.