New York Gov. Spitzer Signs Measure Allowing Rape Survivors To Request HIV Tests for Indicted Suspects
New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) on Thursday signed into law a measure allowing rape survivors to request that indicted suspects undergo an HIV test, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports (Wiessner, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 8/24). The measure requires that indicted suspects be tested under a court order and that the results be provided to the survivor and the suspect (AP/Long Island Newsday, 8/23). The New York Legislature in June approved the measure. The state's current law requires HIV tests after conviction of rape.
Supporters of the measure, which was submitted by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, said that the measure would help rape survivors have access to all information about the virus before they decide whether to take antiretroviral drugs for post-exposure prophylaxis. However, some opponents said the bill might give rape survivors a false sense of security if suspects test negative, adding that survivors might stop taking antiretrovirals prematurely (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/25).
Spitzer in a statement said that sexual assault survivors "have a right to information that impacts their health, ability to receive timely treatment and peace of mind." Assembly member Daniel O'Donnell (D) said that if the person indicted did not commit the rape, then survivors and officials would be "making decisions" based on false information (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 8/24). According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, most states either permit or require HIV testing among rape suspects after conviction, the AP/Newsday reports (AP/Long Island Newsday, 8/23).