Medical Info

SANE Information

The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) program is a Massachusetts Department of Public Health Program, which provides access to Nurse examiners who are specially trained in evidence collection and court testimony for cases of rape and sexual assault. The University of Massachusetts at Amherst is a grant-funded site serving the 5-Colleges. Any 5-College student or anyone who is assaulted on the campuses of the five colleges is eligible for this free service. Students can come to Urgent Care at UMASS University Health Services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, during the academic year. The Urgent Care staff will determine whether the survivor’s assault necessitates a certified SANE nurse practitioner who will perform the forensic exam and give medical care to the assault survivor. It is recommended that students have a rape crisis advocate with them. You can call the Everywoman's Center at 545-0800 before you arrive or the UHS staff can call for you. The police are not called when someone seeks treatment from SANE. Police are only involved if the victim wants to report the assault. The victim does not have to report the assault to qualify for the SANE exam. It is recommended that you come just as you are. Do not shower, wash or treat yourself as this may damage evidence. It may be helpful to bring a change of clothes with you.

The examination by the SANE is free. There may be charges if other urgent care is needed such as stitches, x-rays or medications. You will be offered Emergency Contraception, Antibiotics for sexually transmitted infection (STI) treatment, and prophylaxis for prevention of HIV transmission. Victims will have access to assistance for these costs in most cases. The medications may be covered by your health insurance and/or reimbursement is available through Victim's Compensation if a police report is filed within 5 days of your exam. The evidence collection kits are assigned numbers, so a victim can remain anonymous if they choose to. Kits are discarded after 6 months to 2 years, depending on the police department or crime lab that is storing them, if no charges are filed. If you have questions about SANE services please call your college's health education department. Baystate Medical Center in Springfield and the University of Massachusetts Health Services in Amherst are the only two SANE sites in Western Massachusetts at this time.

Emergency Contraceptive Pill - ECP

What is it?
The Emergency Contraceptive Pill-ECP (sometimes called the "morning after pill") is a high dose oral contraceptive (birth control pill) that can be used by a woman up to 72 hours after unprotected sexual intercourse, a contraceptive accident (a broken condom) or a sexual assault to prevent pregnancy after sex. The two types of ECPs in use are "Ovral," which contains the synthetic hormones, estrogen and progesterone; and "Plan B" which is a progestin only pill.

How do they work?
ECPs can prevent pregnancy by temporarily stopping eggs from being released (ovulation). They also may prevent fertilization or stop a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall. ECPs will not work if you are already pregnant. ECPs will not harm the fetus or cause an abortion if you are already pregnant.

How to use it:
ECP is an emergency measure used to prevent pregnancy. ECP should not be used as a regular form of birth control. Every birth control pill cannot be used as an ECP, so do not try to make up your own prescription. You must see a medical provider for a prescription. To be effective, the treatment must be started within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse.

The earlier ECPs are taken the higher their effectiveness. Plan-B is a progestin only ECP. One pill is taken immediately and a second pill is taken twelve hours later. Nausea and vomiting are possible side effects of Plan B but are much less common than with ECPs that contain both estrogen and progesterone. Most women do not need to take anti-nausea medication.

The most fertile times in a woman's cycle are days 7 to 15 of a 28 day cycle, six days prior to ovulation to one day after. Day one is the first day of your period. The chance of getting pregnant from unprotected intercourse ranges from 2-4% at any time of the cycle to 20-30% during the middle of the menstrual cycle when ovulation occurs. ECPs reduce the risk of pregnancy, but they are not 100% effective. ECP should not be considered a routine contraceptive. ECPs will not prevent a woman from becoming pregnant with any future act of intercourse.

When will I get my next period?
In most cases the next period is more or less on schedule. In a few women, ECPs may cause spotting or an early or late period. If your next period is two or more weeks late, or if you develop nausea or breast tenderness that does not improve in a few days, you must consider the possibility of pregnancy. Home testing is an option or call your health care provider to schedule a pregnancy test.