Postexposure prophylaxis for victims of sexual assault: Treatments and attitudes of emergency department physicians

Arvind Bakhru, Julie B. Mallinger, Michelle C. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Emergency departments (EDs) are the primary source of care for victims of sexual assault (SA). Provision of emergency contraception (EC) to these women has previously been noted to be sporadic. Completeness of care for victims of SA and the barriers to complete care are further investigated in this study. Study Design: All ED attending physicians in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia were identified and contacted for participation; 35% completed the survey. Practice patterns were analyzed for the 67% of physicians who do not refer SA victims to other hospitals. Results: We found that 83% of physicians "always" or "usually" offer EC, but only half prescribe EC more than 48 h postassault. While most (89%) typically offer prophylaxis for STDs other than HIV, only 45% offer or counsel on HIV prophylaxis. Physician attitudes and hospital protocols were significant modifiers. Conclusion: Sexual assault victims are often not offered comprehensive care including prophylaxis against pregnancy and all STDs including HIV. Additional research is warranted to determine why physicians do not routinely offer HIV prophylaxis after SA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-173
Number of pages6
JournalContraception
Volume82
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2010

Keywords

  • Emergency contraception
  • Emergency departments
  • HIV prophylaxis
  • Physician behavior
  • Sexual assault

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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