After experiences of interpersonal violence, you may be in need of medical care. Below you’ll find resources for different types of medical attention you may be seeking. As always, advocates at the Women and Gender Advocacy Center can help you understand your options and provide necessary referrals as needed.
MORE ABOUT MEDICAL CARE
SEXUAL ASSAULT NURSE EXAM
Are you wondering if you should go to the hospital following your assault? If your assault happened within the last 7 days, you have the option of going to the hospital for a Sexual Assault Nurse Exam (SANE). A SANE exam, or what many know as a “rape kit,” is a physical exam that collects physical evidence from a sexual assault. In addition to evidence collection, you’ll also receive medical care for any injuries you may have sustained.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A SEXUAL ASSAULT FORENSIC EXAM?
A SANE exam consists of a head to toe physical evaluation, photographs of injuries (if any), and swabbing of affected areas. Typical exams last anywhere from 2-6 hours, and go at a pace that you feel comfortable with. If at any point during the exam you feel like you need a break, you can simply ask. You also get to decide which parts of the exam you’re willing to do and can simply request to skip certain parts that you’re uncomfortable with. SANE nurses are highly trained in this sensitive area and do an excellent job answering any questions that come up.
Advocates from our Victim Assistance Team can accompany you at any time, day or night, to the hospital and will wait just outside the exam room while the exam is completed. Advocates can provide emotional support and answer any questions about your reporting options or other resources.
During a SANE exam you will be offered emergency contraception, which is effective for up to 5 days following an assault. For concerns around STI’s, you may also be offered testing or prophylactic treatment, medication that is designed to ward off STIs before they take hold in your body. Some of these medicines have very strong side effects, especially medicines designed to prevent HIV. The SANE nurse should tell you what to expect and help you make an informed decision about these medications. If you have questions about what to expect or need clarification on how to take the medicine, you should feel comfortable asking.
Even after 7 days, sexual assault survivors are still encouraged to seek treatment from a health professional.
ARE YOU CONCERNED YOU MAY HAVE BEEN DRUGGED?
If you think drugs or alcohol may have contributed to the assault, you may wish to receive what’s called a toxicology report. Toxicology testing should be performed within 3 days (72 hours) for the most accurate results. Simply ask a SANE nurse about this testing.
DOES HAVING A SANE EXAM MEAN YOU HAVE TO REPORT TO THE POLICE?
Going to the hospital for a SANE exam does not mean that you have to report to the police, but it does collect evidence should you decide to report in the future. Colorado offers three different reporting options for adult survivors of sexual assault who obtain a SANE exam.
- Law Enforcement Report: You decide to make an official report to the police at the time of your SANE exam.
- Medical Report: You decide not to file an official report to the police at the time of your SANE exam, but you do provide your name and identifying information with the evidence collection kit. With this option, you can choose to have evidence tested.
- Anonymous Report: You decide not to file an official report to the police at the time of your SANE exam, and do not provide your name or identifying information in connection with the evidence collection kit. With this option, you are consenting to evidence storage only and cannot choose to have the evidence tested unless you are ready to provide identifying information.
Evidence is stored for two years with local law enforcement, so you do have the option of starting with medical or anonymous reporting and deciding at a later date to report to the police. Please note that these reporting options do not apply for minors and at-risk elders, due to other mandatory reporting obligations.
WHERE DO I GO FOR THE EXAM?
You have several options for where to get a SANE exam, depending on what’s most convenient for you.
- Poudre Valley Hospital (PVH)
1024 S Lemay Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80524
- UCHealth Emergency Room – Harmony
4630 Snow Mesa Dr., Fort Collins, CO 80528
- Medical Center of the Rockies (MCR)
2500 Rocky Mountain Avenue, Loveland, CO 80538
- Banner Fort Collins Medical Center
4700 Lady Moon Dr, Fort Collins, CO 80528
- McKee Medical Center ER
2000 Boise Avenue, Loveland, CO 80538
You do not have to schedule an appointment for the exam. Simply walk into the ER and let them know you’re there for a SANE exam. The hospital will then contact the SANE nurse on call to have them come to the hospital to complete the exam with you.
HOW MUCH WILL THE EXAM COST?
You will not be billed for the actual cost of the SANE exam itself. The cost of the ER visit, which is a separate bill, can be covered through a number of different ways. The hospital will bill your insurance for the visit, or you can elect to self-pay. There is funding available to help cover the cost of the ER visit, whether it’s the full expense or a just a copay from your insurance. If you decide to report to law enforcement, you have the option of using Victim Compensation to cover your hospital expenses. If you don’t report to the PD, there is funding available through the Sexual Assault Victim Emergency Payment Program. An advocate at the WGAC or a SANE nurse can walk you through your options for covering any costs associated with your ER visit.
AFRAID YOU MAY BE PREGNANT?
During a SANE exam you will be offered emergency contraception, which is effective for up to 5 days following an assault. You can also obtain emergency contraception on your own through your local pharmacy, which will cost somewhere between $35-$60.
You may be concerned that you contracted an STI from your assault. The only way to know for sure if you have an STI is to get tested. Based on what happened, a healthcare professional will recommend which tests are important to have now and which may need to be repeated in the future. If you have a SANE exam, the nurse will discuss options with you.
STI testing is also available at these locations in Fort Collins:
CSU Health Network Medical Services
Planned Parenthood of Fort Collins
825 South Shields St, Suites 4-7
Fort Collins, CO 80521
Accepts insurance and Medicaid, or costs about $120 for comprehensive STD testing.
1212 S College Ave
Fort Collins, CO 80524
If money is a concern and you do not want to use/do not have insurance, the Alpha Center in Fort Collins provides FREE and confidential STD testing. Please note that this center is religiously affiliated.