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Clin Microbiol Rev. 2010 Jul;23(3):493-506. doi: 10.1128/CMR.00024-09.

Medical and legal implications of testing for sexually transmitted infections in children.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, 450 Clarkson Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11203-2098, USA.


Testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in children presents a number of problems for the practitioner that are not usually faced when testing adults for the same infections. The identification of an STI in a child can have, in addition to medical implications, 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 epidemiology of child sexual abuse, including the epidemiology of major STIs including Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, syphilis, herpes simplex virus (HSV), Trichomonas vaginalis, and human papillomavirus, and the current recommendations for diagnostic testing in this population.

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