Accessing Medical Care

If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you are encouraged to seek medical care. A Confidential Advocate can help you determine what type of medical attention you need, and where you can receive those services. A CA can also stay with you as a support person during any medical exam. Some possible medical concerns for survivors and resources are listed below:

  • SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Exam): Many Portland area hospitals can perform a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE), which can be helpful as evidence should a survivor want to press criminal charges. A SAFE exam must be performed within 5 days of an assault, and is more useful and accurate the earlier it is performed. In the state of Oregon, a survivor has the option to have the Sexual Assault Forensic Exam performed anonymously and the crime lab will hold, though not process the evidence. This allows the survivor time to decide whether or not they want to pursue a criminal complaint.
  • Pregnancy: The Health Service can provide survivors with pregnancy testing, pregnancy counseling information, referrals, and Emergency Contraception (EC). Emergency Contraception is also available over-the-counter in the state of Oregon. The Feminist Student Union also provides free pregnancy tests and EC.
  • STIs: The Health Service can provide survivors with tests and treatment or referrals for all sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. Local health care providers and Planned Parenthood of Portland also provide STI screening and treatment. Sexually transmitted infections can cause pain, discomfort, and serious health problems such as sterility.
  • HIV/AIDS: Human Immunological Virus (HIV), which can develop into Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), is a virus that is spread through the exchange of body fluids, most notably blood or semen. It can readily enter the bloodstream through abrasions or tearing of tissue. It is not spread by casual contact such as holding hands or hugging. The virus is found in very small quantities in tears and saliva, but the chance of transmission through these fluids is very slight.
    • If a person is assaulted by someone whose HIV factor is unknown, it is recommended that the survivor be tested as soon after the assault as possible to provide baseline information for future tests, and then tested again 3 to 6 months after the assault. The possibility of contracting the virus through one unprotected sexual contact is about 1 in 5 million if the assailant is in a low-risk group, and about 1 in 5 thousand if the assailant is in a high-risk group. Additionally, depending on whether the contact is believed to be high-risk, HIV prophylaxis (prevention) may be an option and can be available through a health care provider.
  • Drug-Induced Sexual Assault: Survivors who wish to investigate the possibility of drug-induced sexual assault (“date rape drugs”) can be treated by Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).

Further Support Options