What Should I Do?
Sexual assault can be an extremely traumatic experience. As a survivor of sexual assault, you may have been hurt both physically and emotionally. Feelings of anger, guilt, shame, and fear are common reactions. In addition to dealing with these emotions, you may also be concerned about being infected with a sexually transmitted disease or HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
During this difficult time, you need to protect your health and the health of your loved ones. This brochure is designed to provide you with information about sexually transmitted diseases and medical and counseling services that are available to help you deal with your concerns. Rememberit is not your fault...you are not alone.
What should I do if I have been sexually assaulted?
Go to a safe place and call the police. The sooner you report the assault, the greater the chances that the offender will be caught. You should seek medical attention immediately. Because sexual assault is a violent act, you may need treatment for injuries such as bruises, cuts, broken bones, or internal injuries. It is also possible that as a result of the sexual assault you may have been infected with a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
If is important for you to be examined so evidence can be collected. Do not shower before being examined. Evidence collected immediately after an assault is very important to the investigation of the offense.
What should I do if I did not seek medical attention immediately after an assault?
Get medical attention as soon as possible. It is important that you get a medical examination and are tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Even though the results may turn up negative the first time, you should be tested again in 3-6 months.
How can I get counseling and/or information about sexual assault and sexually transmitted diseases?
Most sexual assault crises centers have hotlines operated by sexual assault counselors who understand sexual assault and will talk with you confidentially. Phone numbers are listed at the bottom of this brochure.
Most medical testing centers also provide counseling. If counseling is not available at the testing site you have chosen, your Victim Witness Coordinator from the United States Attorney's Office will assist you in making arrangements for counseling.
Testing for Sexually Transmitted Disease and HIV:
How much will testing cost?
Your rights as a federal crime victim entitle you to testing at no cost to you. Certain requirements apply. Phone numbers of HIV test sites are listed at the bottom of this brochure. Most of the sites also offer STD testing. Testing and counseling for HIV at all sites are free of charge; however, some sites charge for STD testing based upon the individual's income. If you are unable to locate a free testing site, contact the Victim Witness Coordinator in the United States Attorney's Office for assistance.
Who will have access to the test results?
You have the right to have up to two confidential and anonymous tests following sexual assault which poses a risk of transmission of the HIV virus or STD. Test results are not given over the telephone or sent in the mail. The nurse who drew your blood will give you the test results on your second visit and explain them to you in private.
Do I need to be tested again?
You should be tested a second time approximately six months after the sexual assault. Even though an initial test is negative, you could still be infected with HIV. It can take up to six months after infection for antibodies to show up on a test. The United States Attorney's Office can assist you in obtaining this second test at no cost to you.
How do I find out if the defendant is infected with HIV/AIDS?
You cannot be infected with HIV if the offender does not have AIDS or has not been infected with HIV. As the victim of a sexual assault, you have the right to request that the defendant be tested for Acquired Immune Deficiency. (The law only allows for a defendant to be tested for HIV/AIDS, not for other sexually transmitted diseases.) The Victim Witness Coordinator at the United States Attorney's Office can assist you with your request to have the defendant tested. Certain requirements must be met.
The Assistant United States Attorney assigned to your case will present the request to the judge. If the initial test is negative, the judge can order the defendant to be tested again 6 and 12 months after the first test.
What about the defendant's test results?
The results of the defendant's test will be given to you; however, you will only be allowed to share the information with your doctor, counselor, family member or any sexual partner(s) you may have had since the sexual assault. Disclosure of these results to anyone else is a violation of law.
For additional information contact:
Aids Information Clearinghouse
Dakota AIDS Hotline
Â If you have any questions or problems related to a case, please click on the "Contact Victim Witness Services Staff" link below or contact the Assistant United States Attorney assigned to the case.