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June 16, 1989

Anti-HIV Substances for Rape Victims

JAMA. 1989;261(23):3407. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420230059011

To the Editor.—  In the age of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, physicians responsible for the initial treatment of victims of sexual assault would do well to reevaluate and update treatment procedures for female victims of rape.Historically, victims of sexual assault have been specifically instructed not to wash or douche prior to examination by a physician. Such examinations routinely include a history, examination for injuries, collection of evidence, and counseling. With concern for the possible transmission of HIV, those caring for rape victims should consider topical treatment with nonoxynol 9, 1:10 vinegar solution, or similar anti-HIV substances (B. Voeller, personal communication, September 1988).1,2Much as been written in recent years of the efficacy of nonoxynol 9 in inactivation of sexually transmitted disease pathogens including HIV.1-3 We submit that a treatment revision for victims of sexual assault should include the early administration of nonoxynol 9 as a potential