Piloting post-exposure prophylaxis in Kenya raises specific concerns for the management of childhood rape
Thika District, Kenya, is the site of an operational research study on the provision of comprehensive post-rape care, including the free provision of HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). It is a typical rural Kenyan district in terms of resources and patient throughput. The high rate of children attending for post-rape services was unexpected and had significant programming implications. An age-disaggregated analysis of existing quantitative data from the first 8 months of service provision was conducted. Ninety-four case records were reviewed, of whom 48 (51%) were in the age range 1.5-17 years inclusive. All three cases of male rape were in children. Children were more likely to know their assailant than adults and were more likely to be HIV-negative at baseline. The majority (86%) of children presented in time for PEP, with adherence and completion rates similar to adults but lower rates of 6-week follow-up. The use of weight bands to determine drug dosages greatly simplified the appropriate and early administration of paediatric PEP. The high rates of childhood rape and demand for post-rape services were an enormous challenge for service providers and policy-makers.
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