Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law today a bill introduced by assemblywomen Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern) that expands HIV-prevention treatment for sexual assault victims.
The bill will provide victims with a seven-day supply of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment to prevent contraction of HIV/AIDS. To be eligible, one must undergo a forensic rape exam and be found at-risk for the disease.
"No victim of a crime, especially one this traumatic, should ever be denied access to the treatment that can prevent HIV/AIDS," Jaffee said. "While no one ever expects to become a victim of sexual assault, everyone has a right to expect the treatment needed to recover is available without red tape or costs standing in the way."
Jaffee's bill combats what she calls "shameful" legislation—presently, state law provides victims with a three-day PEP supply, not seven.
The Rockland lawmaker learned of the shortcoming through sexual advocacy groups, Jaffee said.
"New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NYSCASA) is so pleased that the HIV/PEP bill will go in to effect," said Joanne Zannoni, the organization's director. "This bill will allow victims adequate time to acquire their full dose of medication that will prevent them from contracting HIV. This is such an important bill for victims of sexual assault in New York."