Epidemiology of sexually transmitted diseases in rape victims

Rev Infect Dis. 1989 Mar-Apr;11(2):246-54. doi: 10.1093/clinids/11.2.246.


Rape is a violent crime that is increasing rapidly in incidence. Victims can include male and female adults and children. These victims may be at risk for the acquisition of many sexually transmitted conditions. The risk will vary with the sex and socioeconomic status of the assailant as well as with the nature of the sexual contact. Infections with Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, Trichomonas vaginalis, herpes simplex virus, human papillomavirus, and Treponema pallidum have all been found to occur following sexual assault of female adults or children. Although data are lacking, male victims of homosexual rape are presumably at risk for the acquisition of the above infections as well as hepatitis B, the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, and other infections prevalent among homosexual men. All victims of sexual assault should undergo a comprehensive physical examination with a complete history. Baseline and follow-up laboratory tests should be performed. In some instances, prophylactic administration of antimicrobial agents may be warranted.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Rape*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control