Medical and Sexual History

The purpose of obtaining the medical and sexual history is essentially twofold: first, to identify any behavior or medical conditions that may cause the doctor to misinterpret the clinical findings, for example, menstrual bleeding; and second, to identify any medical problems that may be attributable to the sexual assault, for example, bleeding, pain, or discharge. Other specific details may be required if emergency contraception is being considered.

When children are examined, the parent or caregiver should provide comprehensive details of the past medical history. When adults are examined, only relevant medical and sexual history should be sought because confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. What constitutes relevant medical history must be determined on a case-by-case basis by considering the differential causes for any medical findings and the persistence data for the different sexual acts.

Forensic practitioners should not ask suspects about the alleged incident or their sexual history.

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