Leaders come together to propose policy for sexual assault survivors

The Association for Nurses in AIDS Care, the International Association of Forensic Nurses, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center released a policy statement on Monday that recommends sexual assault victims have access to HIV treatment.

"We recommend that advocates, health care providers, and policy makers work together to ensure that all people-regardless of income, geographical location, cooperation with law enforcement, or other criteria-have access to nPEP when medically indicated," Monika Johnson Hostler, the president of NAESV, said.

The policy asks that all survivors of sexual assault have access to medications that can prevent HIV following a sexual assault. In numerous communities, this treatment is lacking or inconsistent, leaving sexual assault victims vulnerable to HIV.

"We believe that globally, systems should be in place to support universal access to nPEP for all people who have been sexually assaulted," Polly Campbell, the president of IAFN, said. "Costs should not stand in the way of survivors accessing this drug, which can cost upwards of $2,000."

The World Health Organization reports that there are 34 million people around the world living with HIV. This leaves sexual assault victims at risk from HIV transmission due to oral, anal and genital trauma from sexual assaults. The WHO recommends anti-HIV medications be given following a sexual assault.