Know Your Strength
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Getting Medical Support

Getting medical support is key

If you are reporting the rape soon after it happened, you should get to a hospital/clinic/doctor as soon as possible.

  • It is important to take care of your body and the potentially long-term harmful effects the rape could have
  • Make sure that within 72 hours (3 days) you take:
    • The Morning After Pill (MAP) to prevent pregnancy
    • An HIV test and HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent HIV infection
    • Antibiotics to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • If you lay a charge, medical evidence is very important and can be lost if you don't have the forensic medical examination soon after the rape
  • A doctor will examine every part of your body to find and collect samples of hair, blood or semen. This is part of the police investigation to gather medical evidence (forensic evidence) of the crime. This can be experienced as invasive, but just remember it for the purposes of collecting the evidence
  • You may also have injuries externally or internally that require medical attention
  • Get counselling and support to deal with the immediate trauma you have experienced. There should be a counsellor available at a TCC centre to provide this
  • Ask this counsellor if you can come back or refer you to a place where you can get continuing support.

You will be asked permission to do a HIV test so that you can receive post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) i.e. taking antiretroviral (ARV) medication for 28 days after being potentially exposed to HIV to prevent becoming infected.

ARVS are most effective in preventing HIV when taken 6 -8 hours after the rape
The maximum time for ARVs to be administered is 72 hours (3 days)
You will be asked to come back to the clinic/hospital to get your ARVS - it is very important that you do this.
It is very important to take the ARVS for the full 28 days, for it to work effectively. It may have side effects, like headaches, nausea, drowsiness and confusion and you can get tablets and support to help with that.
ARVS can only work effectively to prevent the virus if you take the whole 28-day course.

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