Independent Online Examines ‘Hurdles’ in Access to Post-Exposure Prophylaxis for Rape Survivors in Kenya
The Independent Online on Tuesday examined the "serious hurdles" that rape survivors in Kenya must overcome to obtain post-exposure prophylaxis, which can reduce their chance of contracting HIV if started within 72 hours after exposure to the virus (Independent Online, 5/9). PEP usually involves taking a 28-day course of the antiretroviral drugs zidovudine and lamivudine (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/5/04). Obstacles to receiving PEP in Kenya include lack of treatment availability, lack of post-rape counseling and care availability and lack of clinical PEP oversight in health care facilities across the country, according to the Independent. Many hospitals require patients to pay for PEP, and many women cannot afford the treatment, the Independent reports. Kenya has boosted efforts to improve rape and sexual assault services in recent years with the implementation in 2005 of the Medical Management of Rape and Sexual Violence guidelines. The country's Ministry of Health also is working to extend post-rape services to all public and private hospitals and eliminate fees for women who cannot afford to pay for treatment, according to the Independent. "Rape services have been offered in Kenya, but not in a coordinated way. It depends on the institution, and whether there is anyone interested," Evelyn Wanjiku, a clinical officer at Nairobi's Liverpool voluntary counseling and testing center, said, adding, "It needs to be streamlined and to be offered in one place" (Independent Online, 5/9).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.