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The Aftermath: Physical Effects

Pregnancy HIV/AIDS Vaginismus


 

HIV/AIDS


What it is:

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. HIV leads to AIDS. According to the Centers for Disease Control, "An HIV-infected person receives a diagnosis of AIDS after developing one of the CDC-defined AIDS indicator illnesses. An HIV-positive person who has not had any serious illnesses also can receive an AIDS diagnosis on the basis of certain blood tests."

HIV is spread through body fluids, such as blood and semen. This unfortunately means that HIV can be given to the rape victim by the rapist. A blood test, given most likely right after possible infection, then three months after that date, then six months after possible infection, will determine whether HIV has been contracted.

Warning Signs:

The following may be symptoms of HIV (they also may be symptoms of a lot of other things, so don't panic. The best thing to do is get tested).

rapid weight loss
dry cough
recurring fever or profuse night sweats
profound and unexplained fatigue
swollen lymph glands in the armpits, groin, or neck
diarrhea that lasts for more than a week
white spots or unusual blemishes on the tongue, in the mouth, or in the throat
pneumonia
red, brown, pink, or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids
memory loss, depression, and other neurological disorders

Links:

The AIDS Channel - A window into the lives of a family effected by HIV/AIDS/HCV with news, links and resources for the general public as well as medical professionals.


Vaginismus


What it is:

Vaginismus is a spasm of the muscles in the outer third of the vagina which makes insertion of objects into the vagina painful, difficult or impossible. There has been research that connects this disorder to a previous truamatic event in a person's life (such as sexual assault or abuse). For women with Vaginismus, intercourse, pelvic exams and even use of tampons causes mild to extreme pain, and in some cases, may be impossible.

Warning Signs:

The following may be symptoms of Vaginismus (they also may be symptoms of an infection). If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should consider consulting your doctor, or a doctor who specializes in gynecology.

pain during sexual encounters (including the insertion of fingers or sex toys or during intercourse)
pain during pelvic exams
pain when using tampons
the inability to insert any object into the vagina
anxiety about sexual encounters or OBGYN procedures


Links:

The Woman's Therapy Center - Information, videos, testimonials and a center for curing Vaginismus.


Pregnancy

Links:

Pregnant by Rape Information and Support - Help and understanding for survivors who faced rape-related pregnancy in the past, or are facing it now.

Pregnant By A Rapist - Stories intended to bring about a consciousness that pregnancies do occur as a result of rape






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