Journal News (White Plains) (09.17.07) - Tuesday, September
Beginning Nov. 1, suspects indicted for sex crimes such as
rape in New York could be forced to undergo court-ordered HIV
testing. Test results would be shared only with the alleged
defendant and assault survivor, said Kevin Wright, Putnam
County district attorney.
With the HIV test results in hand, a survivor could decide
sooner whether to undergo post-exposure HIV prophylaxis to
potentially prevent infection. Under current state law, an
alleged assailant cannot be compelled to take an HIV test
until after conviction.
The law empowers a court to compel a defendant to undergo HIV
testing if it is determined such screening would benefit the
victim medically or psychologically. It further requires that
hospitals treating sexual assault survivors provide therapy
and information about possible HIV exposure. Hospitals will be
required to notify survivors that treatment could be
reimbursed through the Crime Victims Board.
"We encourage victims to get tested for HIV and [STDs]
regardless of the perpetrators' HIV results," said Scott
Berkowitz, president of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National
Network. "It is important for victims to get medical attention
following an attack, even if there are no obvious physical
injuries," said Berkowitz, who praised the new law.