Alabama Gov. Signs Bill Allowing Mandatory HIV, STI Testing for People Charged With Rape, Sexual Assault
Alabama Gov. Bob Riley (R) on Tuesday signed into law a bill that allows a judge to order that someone charged with sexual assault or rape be tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, the Birmingham News reports. The bill, which was introduced by state Rep. David Grimes (R), amends the current law, which says only people convicted of a crime and sentenced to 30 days or more in prison must undergo STI testing. Under the new law, the survivor or parent of a survivor of rape, sodomy or sexual misconduct can ask the district attorney that the alleged perpetrator be tested for STIs. The judge can order the test if he or she determines that there is probable cause that the accused committed the crime and the exchange of body fluids occurred during the attack. The results of that test can be shared with anyone who was assaulted by the alleged assailant (White, Birmingham News, 4/26). Riley said survivors "need this information as quickly as possible so they can take whatever steps are necessary to protect their health and to make sure they don't unwittingly transmit the disease to someone else (AP/WTVM, 4/25). He added, "Every rape victim should have the right to know if their attacker has exposed them to HIV" or other STIs (Office of the Governor release, 4/25). The law is scheduled to take effect July 1 (Birmingham News, 4/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.