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Question
Posted by: chi | 2012/08/14

I need to know

Hi Doc, my Daughter, 28 is HIV+. she was gang raped when whe was 19 and I only found out 2 years ago. So now whether she is HIV+ because of the rape or became promiscuous as a result of that is unknown. when I was told - she did not want to talk about the rape and I did not want to dig it up. she told me " I have dealt with it and dont want to talk about it" . Apparently at the time she went to a private hospital and was given ARV''s but they made her feel weird so she stopped taking them. If only I had known! I would have been there for her and cared for her. At this stage, I have the unbelievable urge to know the details, put do not want to put her through trauma and dig up old bones. She refers to me as her role model, but she must have felt I was unapproachable all those years ago, I feel like the ice maiden! I have this unbelievable urge to know the details of what happened, would it be wrong of me to bring up the subject and insist on details? what do you think?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Its unfortunate that whoever was providing medical care for her after the rape did not set up proper testing for the years afterwards, to check for the very real possibility of an HIV infection. If someone is really very reluctant to talk about a rape, the chances are that she really hasn't dealt with it, especially if she has not had proper skilled counselling.
She should not have been just left to avoid ARV's simply because they made her feel weird, without again proper counselling about side-effects, how they tend to diminish, and the full benefits of the medication. Promiscuity can be a result of rape, for a variety of reasons and again, is something which should always be dealt with in post-rape counselling.
Of course you have been placed in a difficult and upsetting position not being given enough information to enable you to have been as helpful as you would wish to be.
What you needed to knw is not "all the details" as they are actually irrelevant to her present needs, but to know enough about her diagnosis, risks, and alternatives, to be able to support her in making healthier choices.
So insisting on details isn't likely to be helpful. Do talk to her about how you feel, how you feel worried that you may have seemed uncaring in the past when you were in fact uninformed or misinformed, and how you worry about how to be most helpful to her. let the focus of the comversation be on helping each other face a sad situation that was forced upon her, rather than on issues of any mutual blame or argument.
Rather encourage her to see the right sort of helpers, counsellor and HIV specializing doctor.

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Maria | 2012/08/14

She probably did not want to upset or disappoint you. Please don''t ask her for details, respect her privacy and her right to not tell you. If she isn''t getting medical care now, encourage her to see a doctor and if you think that psychologically she is battling then a counsellor.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/08/14

Its unfortunate that whoever was providing medical care for her after the rape did not set up proper testing for the years afterwards, to check for the very real possibility of an HIV infection. If someone is really very reluctant to talk about a rape, the chances are that she really hasn't dealt with it, especially if she has not had proper skilled counselling.
She should not have been just left to avoid ARV's simply because they made her feel weird, without again proper counselling about side-effects, how they tend to diminish, and the full benefits of the medication. Promiscuity can be a result of rape, for a variety of reasons and again, is something which should always be dealt with in post-rape counselling.
Of course you have been placed in a difficult and upsetting position not being given enough information to enable you to have been as helpful as you would wish to be.
What you needed to knw is not "all the details" as they are actually irrelevant to her present needs, but to know enough about her diagnosis, risks, and alternatives, to be able to support her in making healthier choices.
So insisting on details isn't likely to be helpful. Do talk to her about how you feel, how you feel worried that you may have seemed uncaring in the past when you were in fact uninformed or misinformed, and how you worry about how to be most helpful to her. let the focus of the comversation be on helping each other face a sad situation that was forced upon her, rather than on issues of any mutual blame or argument.
Rather encourage her to see the right sort of helpers, counsellor and HIV specializing doctor.

Reply to cybershrink

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