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.
The measure requires that indicted suspects be tested under a court order and that the results be provided to the survivor and the suspect. 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.
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.
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.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation