Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern) sponsored legislation that unanimously passed the New York State Assembly, which provides emergency treatment for sexual assault victims at risk for HIV-AIDS (A02355-B). “Some survivors do not complete the treatment for various reasons. Making this preventative treatment more accessible will create a better prognosis for survivors and will save the state millions of dollars in potential health costs,” stated Assemblywoman Jaffee.
Prompt delivery of the preventive treatment known as Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) could save New York State millions of dollars in treatment costs by stemming potential HIV/AIDS cases. The state ends up paying for nearly nine out of every ten HIV/AIDS patients; resulting costs are hundreds of thousands of dollars per case. Assemblywoman Jaffee has held several meetings and convened an Assembly roundtable with experts on the subject to finalize this version of the legislation and made sure that it would benefit all New Yorkers through clear cost-savings, along with improving the process.
The main reasons survivors either don’t seek or don’t complete treatment are the cost of the medication, inability to fill out the paperwork due to the trauma of the assault, and lack of medical oversight. Time is a complicating factor. The treatment must begin within 48 hours of the assault; however experts recommend that the PEP start even sooner, with 24 to 36 hours following an assault being preferable.
Carolyn Fish, Executive Director of Rockland Family Shelter said “We are most appreciative to Assemblywoman Jaffee for championing this bill through the Assembly. This will now enable people, regardless of income, to get the appropriate treatment needed after they have been sexually assaulted, which is integral. This is something we have been working towards for several years, and we are very grateful to Assemblywoman Jaffee and the Legislature.”
“By simplifying the process and increasing outreach to assault survivors who have undergone a forensic exam, this bill makes PEP treatment more accessible,” stated Assemblywoman Jaffee. “By removing barriers between the PEP treatment and survivors of sexual assault, this legislation will provide those survivors with better options for healthier results.”