Terms to Know

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Evidence Collection Kit: 

  • An evidence collection kit is when DNA evidence is gathered at a hospital after an assault that can later be used for reporting if desired. Also known as a forensic exam, the process can consist of the following: swabbing, blood collection, pelvic exam, drug or pregnancy tests, X-rays, and head and pubic hair collection. Please see Forensic Examination for more information about what this exam entails, specifically.


  • In general, prophylaxis is a method of preventing diseases. Prophylaxis (a medicine) is a way of preventing the transmission of STDs shortly after unprotected sexual contact. Please see STI/ HIV for more information and resources.

Emergency Contraception:

  • Emergency contraception is a method of preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex. Emergency contraception prevents ovulation from occurring, which subsequently prevents pregnancy. Emergency contraception is different from abortion (please see below). Most forms of emergency contraception can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex, but the effectiveness decreases with time. Please see Emergency Contraception (EC) for more information and resources.

Medical vs. Procedural vs. Surgical Abortion:

  • A medical abortion can be received up to 10 weeks after a missed period and it consists of a series of pills, the first of which (Mifepristone) is taken in the health center and the second set (Misoprostol) is taken at home. 

  • A procedural abortion can be performed up to 16 weeks after a missed period. The procedure lasts between 5 and 15 minutes depending on length of pregnancy. 

  • A surgical abortion can be performed after 16 weeks and up to 24 weeks after a missed period. This procedure occurs over multiple days and is conducted by a physician.

  • Please see Abortion Care for more information and resources.