Health teams: YES we can do something about sexual violence

Health teams: YES we can do something about sexual violence

In this year alone, from January to September, 2,500 people – mostly cis or trans women, but not only – reported having suffered sexual violence as the main reason for going for an HIV test AIDS Healtcare Foundation (AHF) or its allies in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The above is as overwhelming as the figures that we will read around November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women:

Up to 15% of Latin American women have been sexually assaulted by someone other than their partner in this region, according to a large study by the World Health Organization. And we know that the highest rates of gender-based violence are towards trans people, but the records concerning it are invisible.

Especially sexual violence which includes sexual harassment, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, attempted rape and rape.

As people committed to the health of those who come in search of prevention or treatment of HIV and other STIs, we have a superpower: that of supporting a survivor of sexual violence in the health system through listening, diagnosis and Post Prophylaxis. Exhibition (PEP). We must apply the required regulations of each country  in order to deal with violations such as medical emergencies.

What can I do to deal with sexual violence?

All rape is a medical emergency. You are part of the health team and this is what you can do.

As a peer educator:

Listen carefully to those who report having experienced sexual violence. Ask if they want to elaborate on the subject. If no more than 72 hours have passed, offer accompaniment to an emergency service where you receive Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), STI care and pregnancy test. If more time has passed, always offer a referral to a psychological support service.

As a healthcare professional, you must:

Inform youself and apply your country┬┤s protocol regarding care after sexual violence, offer PEP, emergency contraception and STI diagnosis, and when this is not possible, have an updated directory of reference to other services. Consult the information and resources in the PEP section of AHF in your country. And we invite you to review this manual prepared by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), especially the information in the appendices.

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