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J R Soc Med. 1991 November; 84(11): 657–659.
PMCID: PMC1295467

Rape and sexually transmitted diseases: patterns of referral and incidence in a department of genitourinary medicine.


A retrospective study was carried out of all women attending a Department of Genitourinary Medicine over a 3-year period. Note was taken of referring source, presenting symptoms, infection detected at STD screening and follow-up attendance. Comparison was also made between the number of women referred by the police surgeon and the number who actually attended. We observed an overall incidence of STD of 35% and noted that many infections had a similar prevalence to that of our normal clinic population over the same time period. Only 13% of the women referred by the police attended although after the initial visit attendance was similar regardless of referral source. A number of asymptomatic women were noted to have infection with Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis. Although, the risk of significant STD following sexual assault is low greater efforts should be made to encourage women to attend for screening whether or not they are symptomatic.

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Selected References

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  • Glaser JB, Hammerschlag MR, McCormack WM. Epidemiology of sexually transmitted diseases in rape victims. Rev Infect Dis. 1989 Mar-Apr;11(2):246–254. [PubMed]
  • Murphy SM. Rape, sexually transmitted diseases and human immunodeficiency virus infection. Int J STD AIDS. 1990 Mar;1(2):79–82. [PubMed]
  • Forster GE, Pritchard J, Munday PE, Goldmeier D. Incidence of sexually transmitted diseases in rape victims during 1984. Genitourin Med. 1986 Aug;62(4):267–269. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Lacey HB. Sexually transmitted diseases and rape: the experience of a sexual assault centre. Int J STD AIDS. 1990 Nov;1(6):405–409. [PubMed]
  • Jenny C, Hooton TM, Bowers A, Copass MK, Krieger JN, Hillier SL, Kiviat N, Corey L, Stamm WE, Holmes KK. Sexually transmitted diseases in victims of rape. N Engl J Med. 1990 Mar 15;322(11):713–716. [PubMed]
  • Boag F, Barton S, Hawkins D. Rape, STDs and HIV. Int J STD AIDS. 1990 Jul;1(4):291–292. [PubMed]
  • Estreich S, Forster GE, Robinson A. Sexually transmitted diseases in rape victims. Genitourin Med. 1990 Dec;66(6):433–438. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Murphy S, Kitchen V, Harris JR, Forster SM. Rape and subsequent seroconversion to HIV. BMJ. 1989 Sep 16;299(6701):718–718. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine are provided here courtesy of Royal Society of Medicine Press