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Sexual Assault and Sexually Transmitted Diseases



In one of my former roles, one of my duties was to collect sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) lab findings, determine if the treatment had been given, notify the patient if the treatment had not been given,  and report the findings and data to the health department. I also provided data management and training support to the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) program at a Level I Trauma Center. The specific training support I provided was for STDs.

When a person is sexually assaulted, the perpetrator is highly unlikely to have any care or concern about the health and well-being of the victim. The perpetrator is not going to tell the victim, "Can you hold on a second, while I put on a condom?" Instead, whatever possible STD the assailant has, the victim is at risk of contracting.

STDs transmission is a hidden epidemic since it is often a taboo topic discussed. The top reported infectious diseases in the United States today are chlamydia and gonorrhea - both STDs. Adolescents ages 15-24, women, men who have sex with men, and minorities are most at risk for contracting STDs. At issue is that some individuals with STDs may have some or no symptoms whatsoever. As such, alleged perpetrators may even be unaware that they have an STD.

If an individual is sexually assaulted, he/she should be strongly encouraged to visit a healthcare provider and be tested and treated for STDs. Providers should follow closely the prophylactic treatment protocol for sexual assault victims. Sexual assault victims may not follow-up with care providers in the future, so initial preventive treatment is of the utmost importance. Providers also should provide preventive treatment to partners of the victim. Pregnancy prevention should also be discussed.

A patient who contracts an STD as a result of a sexual assault is also at greater risk for contracting HIV/AIDS. Although there is a better treatment for HIV/AIDS than in the past, there is no cure. For treatment guidelines, patients and providers should visit the CDC website, 2015 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines.