Sexual Assault Testing

Alternate Names

  • Rape Testing

Hospitals have specially trained nurses and other members of the health-care team to provide both physical and psychological support to people who have been raped or sexually assaulted. After a sexual assault has taken place, there are a number of tests that can be done to collect evidence which will assist authorities in their identification of the guilty party and to successfully prosecute. While in-depth questioning about the assault along with physical exam and collection of evidence may be daunting following assault, it is vitally important.

Do not shower, tub bathe, or douche before going to the hospital, and do not delay?evidence will be gone after 72 hours. If you change your clothes before going to the police or emergency room, do not wash them. Place the clothes you were wearing during the assault into a paper (not plastic) bag. You will be questioned about your past medical history, and about the assault. Your clothes will be taken to be examined for evidence. Photos will be taken of visible physical injuries. A physical exam will be done, which will include a gynecological exam. Samples will be taken from the vagina to identify the presence of semen or other cells from your assailant, cervical samples to test for STDs, and samples from the anal area will also be taken. Males will have swabs taken of both their penis and anal areas.

Blood and urine samples will be taken for drug testing, alcohol levels, to test for STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), and for DNA testing. Your body will be examined closely with a high-intensity light to try to identify blood, semen, or saliva and the nurse may use special dyes to identify injured skin that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Your fingernails will be scraped to collect evidence.

You will be given medication as a preventive measure against STDs, along with antiviral drugs for HIV, and immunization against hepatitis B. You will be offered day-after contraception if the assault was less than 72 hours before the exam. If the assault occurred more than 72 hours but less than seven days before the exam, an IUD can be placed in order to prevent pregnancy. HIV and pregnancy tests will also be done after a period of time.

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