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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume 3, Issue 3, Pages 122-128
Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: A Significant Complication of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Deborah Lindsay1,2 and Joanne Embree1,2

1The Child Protection Centre, Children’s Hospital, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
2Departments of Pediatrics, Child Health and Medical Microbiology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Received 14 February 1991; Accepted 21 May 1991

Copyright © 1992 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The acquisition of one or more sexually transmitted diseases (STD) is a significant complication of sexual assault of children. The risk of infection by pathogens varies from less than 1 to 50% depending on the nature of the assault, the organism studied and the background prevalence of STD in the general community. The correct diagnosis of STD in children depends upon optimal collection and appropriate laboratory testing of clinical specimens. Diagnosing STD will allow for treatment and follow-up to ensure cure of these infections as well as to monitor for re-infection. It will also help confirm that sexual activity involving the child has occurred. This can be exi.remely important, particularly when there are minimal other physical findings of abuse or if the child has limited verbal skills and thus cannot provide a complete disclosure. All physicians who care for children should be knowledgeable about the methods of STD diagnosis and the currently recommended treatment regimens.