Sexual Assault Infectious Disease Prophylaxis

In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan.


Sexual assault is any sexual act performed by one person on another without seeking consent. The assault may result from the threat of force, force, or from the victim's inability or refusal to give consent. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are feared sequelae of sexual assault. The most common STIs diagnosed in female survivors of sexual assault are chlamydia, gonorrhea, bacterial vaginosis, and trichomoniasis.

Prevention is paramount as survivors who contract infections risk enduring long-term complications, including pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and even certain types of cancer. Recommendations for appropriate management after a sexual assault have changed several times over the last decade. The treatment of STIs following sexual assault exhibits variability between countries and within the same country. Local factors such as antibiotic resistance patterns and prevalent infections in the region often influence these differences.

The prevalence of infection and antibiotic susceptibility are dynamic and subject to ongoing changes; new sexually acquired infections can emerge, exemplified by the advent of HIV in the 1980s.

Over the past half-century, significant advancements have been made in developing effective medications to combat various STIs, including HIV. The information provided adheres to the current guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

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