Akron, OH (PRWEB) August 19, 2013
The Association for Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC), International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN), National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV), and National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) released a policy statement today, recommending that systems be established to ensure that survivors of sexual assault have universal access to medications to prevent HIV following rape. In too many communities, access to these medications is lacking or inconsistent.
According to the World Health Organization, at least 34 million people worldwide are living with HIV (World Health Organization [WHO], 2013). Sexual assault survivors are potentially at risk of HIV transmission, due to oral, anal, and genital trauma seen in sexual assaults (Dunkle & Decker, 2013; Campbell, Lucea, Stockman, & Draughon, 2013; Draughon, 2012). WHO, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and several states and provinces recommend anti-HIV medications—also known as non-occupational post exposure prophylaxis, or “nPEP”—to prevent HIV following rape (WHO, 2007; CDC, 2010; New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute, 2010; Government of Alberta, 2010).
“We believe that globally, systems should be in place to support universal access to nPEP for all people who have been sexually assaulted. Costs should not stand in the way of survivors accessing this drug, which can cost upwards of $2,000,” said Polly Campbell, President, IAFN. “We recognize the vital role that health providers play in assessing survivors for HIV risk and hope to create consistent practices that support them in these efforts,” said Robert Carroll, President, ANAC. “We know that effective services must be grounded in a collaborative, trauma-informed model that supports survivors in making informed choices about their health and options,” said Karen Baker, Director, NSVRC.
“We recommend that advocates, hea
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