Position Statement – 2012
A.669A / S.3200A
HIV Post Exposure Prophylaxis
The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) strongly supports A.669-A / S.3200-A and urges passage of this important legislation which would amend the public health law and the executive law to better ensure that victims of sexual assault receive the full course of HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), regardless of their financial status and ability to afford the treatment.
HIV PEP is a 30-day treatment that is taken as a preventative measure against HIV. As part of this new bill, survivors would be given a larger 9-day starter pack of the medication in the emergency department, the costs for which are covered under the Forensic Payment Act. Survivors who cannot afford to pay for the remaining treatment, who presently have to endure a time-consuming and onerous application process for an Emergency Award with the NYS Crime Victims Board, would be able to access medication through their local emergency treatment provider and/or pharmacy. The process would eliminate additional burdens imposed on a survivor of sexual assault who is already dealing with the aftermath and trauma of his/her victimization.
According to the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute, HIV PEP reduces the risk of HIV infection by 70 to 80 percent. While the exact rate of HIV infection after sexual assault is difficult to ascertain due to ethical reasons and feasibility limitations, HIV PEP is a crucial component of the options that should be given to survivors. In 2005, the AIDS Institute published guidelines recommending that all survivors of sexual assault be treated in an emergency department or equivalent healthcare setting and given access to appropriate medical interventions, including an HIV PEP regimen.
As an organization whose mission includes improving the status of all women, we believe that survivors of sexual assault should be provided full access to vital treatments such as HIV PEP regardless of their financial situation, and we fully support A.669-A / S.3200-A.
WBASNY, with over 3,500 members from eighteen chapters across the State, is the largest statewide bar association dedicated to promoting the advancement of women in the legal profession and in society. Our mission commits us to improving the status of all women, and WBASNY addresses complex legal issues as we advocate for change for women and children throughout the state, and promote the fair and equal administration of justice for all. Members of WBASNY include individuals from all levels of the state and federal benches, as well as prominent attorneys practicing in all areas of the law, educators and government leaders.
WBASNY urges passage of this important legislation.