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STI testing in children: Medical and legal implications

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27 July 2009

Abstract: Testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in children presents a number of problems for the practitioner that is not usually faced when testing adults for the same infections. The identification of an STI in a child has, in addition to medical implications, can have serious legal implications. The presence of an STI is often used to support the presence or allegations of sexual abuse and conversely, the identification of an STI in a child will prompt an investigation of possible abuse. The purpose of this paper is to review the recent data on the epidemiology of child sexual abuse including the epidemiology of major STIs (N. gonorrhoeae, C. trachomatis, syphilis, HSV, Trichomonas vaginalis and human papilloma virus) and the current recommendations for diagnostic testing in this population.

 

 

Margaret R. Hammerschlag, MD

Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics

State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York

 

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