AIDS spread through rape stoppable

National, Normal

The National,Wednesday 17th April, 2013


AIDS transmission through rape can be prevented if victims are taken straight to the family support centre at the Angau Memorial Hospital in Lae, a workshop was told yesterday.

“Come to us first and later go to the police to report the crime,” Paul Kunump of Medecins Sans Frontieres, operators of the family support centre, said.  

He told the community leadership and health workshop in Lae yesterday that a treatment called post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) prevented the transmission of the HIV virus if rape victims were brought to the centre within three days of the incident.

“Less than 24 hours is even better,” he said.

Kunump related a double rape incident where one female victim was HIV positive and the other was negative.

The same men took turns raping both women but the negative one retained her status because she was brought to the centre immediately after the incident and put on PEP.

The PEP is an intensive 28-day treatment involving two doses a day and must be strictly adhered to by patients.

Kunump said that child sexual abuse was gradual and can be halted early if people in the community were properly trained to identify the symptoms.

“There are psychological signs like behavioural change and then physical ones like pain while urinating, pus, even stains on underclothes must be checked with the child.”

“Don’t take this lightly and wash them with hot water or give them amoxicillin. Take them quickly to the centre,” he said.

NGO Eastern Highlands Welfare Association facilitated the workshop with support from the provincial government. 

Community development officers from six wards in Lae district are attending the workshop which ends on Friday.