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Article
November 23, 1994

HIV Testing, Counseling, and Prophylaxis After Sexual Assault

Author Affiliations

Boston City Hospital Boston, Mass
Massachusetts Department of Public Health Boston
University of California—Los Angeles

JAMA. 1994;272(20):1577. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520200033027
Abstract

To the Editor.  —The Working Group on HIV [human immunodeficiency virus] Testing, Counseling, and Prophylaxis After Sexual Assault1 develops a case for preconviction "limited compulsory HIV testing" of sexual assault defendants to ameliorate the significant physical and mental health sequelae suffered by victims. The group justifies its considerable infringement of the accused's rights with three "compelling reasons": for the survivor, potential clinical and psychological benefits, and for the community, protection from further transmission.Unfortunately, the policy has a differential impact on communities of color and poor people: it supports problematic assumptions about the victims, it dismisses the public health goals of HIV testing and counseling activities, and it disregards the fact that HIV testing of the accused does not resolve the victim's prophylaxis and treatment dilemmas.The policy of testing preconvicted defendants would differentially affect poor African Americans and other minority men since they are most likely to be

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