Department of Reproductive Health and Research (RHR), World Health Organization
Sexually transmitted and other reproductive tract infections
A guide to essential practice
Management of STIs/RTIs
Sexual violence is defined as “any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic women’s sexuality, using coercion, threats of harm or physical force, by any person regardless of relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work”1.
Sexual violence is common. Both males and females are vulnerable in childhood, but women are much more at risk in adolescence and adulthood. Box 10.1 gives some information on the occurrence of sexual violence.
Box 10.1. Sexual violence—some statistics
It is important that health care providers have a high index of suspicion and awareness about sexual violence. Many individuals are reluctant to talk directly about abuse by their intimate partner. They may be ashamed to discuss it, or they may be afraid of future violence if the situation is exposed. Often, because they feel uncomfortable talking about sexual violence, individuals may come to the clinic with other non-specific complaints or requesting a check-up—assuming that the health care provider will notice anything abnormal that needs treatment.
This chapter cannot cover all the medical, social and legal aspects of sexual violence that should be addressed. Rather, it focuses on recommendations for preventing direct adverse consequences of sexual assault, particularly STI and pregnancy. The resources listed in Annex 6 provide guidance for establishing services and protocols for comprehensive care of survivors of sexual violence and examples of screening protocols that can be used to identify those exposed to gender-based violence.
World Report on violence and Health. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2002.
Infections of the male and female reproductive tract and their consequences:
Preventing STIs/RTIs and their complications
STI/RTI education and counselling
Promoting prevention of STI/RTI and use of services
STI/RTI Assessment during Routine Family Planning Visits
STI/RTI Assessment in pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period
Management of symptomatic STIs/RTIs
STI/RTI complications related to pregnancy, miscarriage, induced abortion, and the postpartum period
Annex 1. Clinical skills needed for STI/RTI
Annex 2. Disinfection and universal precautions
Annex 3. Laboratory tests for RTI
Annex 4. Medications