Rape Survivors Should Be Given Access To PEP To Prevent HIV Transmission

Armen Hareyan's picture

Although giving a "rape survivor the option of forcing a suspect to betested for HIV under court order would seem to be useful for thesurvivor's health and peace of mind," mandatory "HIV testing doesn'tget rape survivors access to what they need most": post-exposureprophylaxis, Regan Hofmann, editor of POZ, writes in a Long Island Newsday opinion piece. "Forced testing of rape suspects for HIV, which would become a choice for women in New York state under a bill"under consideration by Gov.


Eliot Spitzer (D), is "one of the worstways to ensure that rape survivors avoid potential HIV infection,"Hofmann writes. She adds that although supporters of the bill "arguethat it gets important information into the hands of survivors," the"best information they can get is about the efficacy" of PEP, a 28-daycourse of antiretroviral drugs.

"Rape survivors can't afford to waitfor an indictment of a suspect to decide whether to take PEP," and theyshould not "make this critical health decision based on a potentiallymisleading HIV test result," according to Hofmann.

Instead of the billunder consideration by Spitzer, New York needs a "law that allows allwomen who have been raped free access to PEP as soon as possible afteran attack," Hofmann writes, concluding, "In a hospital, medical workerswho are accidentally stuck with a needle are typically offered PEPimmediately. Why should it be different for rape survivors?" (Hofmann,Long Island Newsday, 6/28).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyHIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . TheKaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service ofThe Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.