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ARTICLE

Female Sexual Assault Victims Diagnosed with STDs Less Likely to Receive Treatment

MAR 22, 2017 | LORRAINE L. JANECZKO, MPH
After adjusting for demographics, women who were coerced into having sex were more likely to report risky sex (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 1.56, 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.08 to 2.24), risky partners (AOR 1.90, 95% CI, 1.11 to 3.23), and substance abuse (AOR 1.80, 95% CI, 1.28 to 2.53).
 
Women who were forced to have sex were more likely to have had STD testing in the past 12 months (AOR 1.67 95% CI, 1.34 to 2.09).
 
Women forced to have sex were also more likely to ever be diagnosed with herpes (AOR 1.94, 95% CI, 1.13 to 3.32) and genital warts (AOR 2.55, 95% CI, 1.90 to 3.41) but were no more likely to be diagnosed with chlamydia, syphilis, or gonorrhea than women who were never coerced.
 
Women who were forced to have sex and were diagnosed with an STD were less likely to receive STD treatment compared with women who did not experience forced sex (AOR 1.44, 95% CI, 0.95 to 2.18).
 
The researchers noted that limitations to the study included its cross-sectional design that was based on a self-reported survey, the short time period involved, and the low number of syphilis and gonorrhea cases, which might have affected the results. The authors would like to conduct further related longitudinal studies.
 
"This study highlights the fact that sexual violence and STDs are major concerns in this country. We need to eliminate the barriers that women in danger have to seeking the care they need to protect themselves and maintain their health," Dr. Cheryl Kovar, assistant professor and director of the Nursing Leadership Concentration at East Carolina University College of Nursing in Greenville, North Carolina, said in an interview.
 
The CDC updated sexual assault, abuse, and STD guidelines are at https://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/sexual-assault.htm#riskHIV.
 

Lorraine L. Janeczko, MPH, is a medical science writer who creates news, continuing medical education and feature content in a wide range of specialties for clinicians, researchers and other readers. She has completed a Master of Public Health degree through the Department of Epidemiology of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a Dana Postdoctoral Fellowship in Preventive Public Health Ophthalmology from the Wilmer Eye Institute, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School.

 
DISCLOSURES: The authors and Dr. Kovar did not report any conflicts of interest with the study.
 
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