I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

2021 Feb 01

Am Fam Physician



Sexual Assault of Women.


Farahi N, McEachern M
Am Fam Physician. 2021 Feb 01; 103(3):168-176.
PMID: 33507052.


Sexual violence is a major public health and human rights issue affecting more than 40% of women in the United States during their lifetimes. Although men and women experience sexual assault, women are at greatest risk. Populations uniquely impacted by sexual assault include adolescents; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people; and active-duty military service members. Health consequences of sexual assault include sexually transmitted infections, risk of unintended pregnancy, high rates of mental health conditions (e.g., posttraumatic stress disorder), and development of chronic medical conditions (e.g., chronic pelvic pain). Family physicians care for sexual assault survivors at the time of the assault and years after, and care should follow a survivor-centered and trauma-informed framework. Multiple organizations recommend screening all women for a history of sexual violence; however, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends only universal intimate partner violence screening in women of reproductive age. A validated tool, such as the Two-Question Screening Tool, can be implemented. Initial care should include treatment of physical injuries, prophylaxis for sexually transmitted infections, immunizations, and the sensitive management of psychological issues. Clinicians must comply with state and local requirements for the use of evidence-gathering kits. Many hospitals have developed collection protocols and employ certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners or Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners. Prevention of sexual violence requires a comprehensive approach to address individual, relational, community, and societal factors.