Malawi Medical Journal

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Presentation of child sexual abuse cases to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital following the establishment of an HIV post-exposure prophylaxis programme

E Chesshyre, EM Molyneux


To review child sexual abuse cases and their management presenting to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH), Blantyre, since the introduction of an HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) programme.
Demographic and medical data was collected from all children presenting to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi between January 2005 and February 2007 with alleged child sexual abuse (CSA).
Between January 2005 and February 2007, 217 children presented with alleged CSA. This is an average of 3 more per month since the previous year. The results of the physical examination in 60% (130/217) of the cases showed signs of trauma. 63% (137/217) of the cases presented within 72 hours of defilement. Overall in 42% (92/217) of children
a one month course of HIV PEP was indicated and given. In 58% (125/217) HIV PEP was not indicated in view of normal examination, presentation too late (>72 hrs after abuse), multiple abuse episodes in the last 6 months, HIV test positive or HIV test refused. In 66% (144/217) of assessed children antibiotic treatment was given for the prevention
and/ or treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
The introduction of an HIV PEP programme for victims of CSA has lead to increased numbers presenting and being treated. In conclusion it is likely that a significant number of children have been prevented from acquiring HIV and other STIs following CSA. The key area where our service needs
to be improved is in establishing documented follow up of all cases to monitor medication compliance, side effects and rates of HIV seroconversion following CSA.
AJOL African Journals Online