Sexual Health & Pregnancy
It is important to consider the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), blood bourne viruses (BBVs) and pregnancy. Below is information on what to consider.
If you have experienced sexual assault in the past and have not been screened for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) since the assault then it is important that you attend Genito-Urinary Medicine (GUM) clinic to have an STI screen. It may have been some time, weeks, months or years since the abuse took place and you may not have experienced any symptoms however some STIs can be symptomless therefore it is important to be screened. Untreated STIs can lead to long term health problems. Most STIs can be treated with a simple course of medication.
If you have experienced any symptoms such as itching, discharge, pain when urinating, inflammation or bleeding you should contact a Healthcare Professional e.g. your GP or local GUM clinic.
Blood Bourne Viruses
The risk of getting a blood borne virus (BBV) such as HIV or Hepatitis B is generally low. There are medications which can be taken following exposure to HIV and Hepatitis B that can prevent the disease being passed on to you. The first dose of these medications must be taken within a certain amount of time. For HIV this is a short time frame of 72 hours, therefore if you have experienced rape or sexual assault in the past and you are concerned that you may have been assaulted by someone with HIV or AIDS you should contact your GP or local GUM service.
For the prevention of Hepatitis B the first dose of medication can be given up to 6 weeks following exposure. If you have experienced rape or sexual assault within the last 6 weeks we would advise you contact a healthcare professional such as your GP or local GUM service to discuss this and whether it is appropriate to have Hepatitis B vaccination. It is important to be aware that the medications for the prevention Hepatitis B are a course of medications that needs to be given over a set period of time, to be advised by a healthcare professional. It is necessary to continue with the whole course of medication, you will not be protected unless the full course of treatment is completed.
If contraception was not used or contraceptive method has failed it is possible if you are female to fall pregnant following rape. If you think that you may have fallen pregnant or know that you have fallen pregnant please as a result of a rape you can take a pregnancy test and discuss the different options with your GP, local family planning, sexual health or GUM clinic.
If you are pregnant it is your decision what you want to do. No one has the right to tell you what you should do.