The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo Governor of New York State
633 3rd Ave, 38th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Re: Approval of A.1204-A (Peoples-Stokes) / S.2279-A (Hoylman)
Dear Governor Cuomo,
On behalf of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), the New York state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, and its 190,000 members and supporters statewide, we urge you to swiftly sign A.1204-A (Peoples-Stokes) / S.2279-A (Hoylman). This critical legislation will reduce the transmission of HIV by making post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) available to minors who have experienced sexual assault and who may not be able to involve a parent or guardian in their post-assault health care.
Although New York law authorizes the Office of Victim Services (OVS) to pay for medical expenses for sexual assault survivors, under current law minors are unable to sign the OVS reimbursement form. This puts some minors who experience sexual assault in the untenable position of involving a parent to seek reimbursement from OVS, paying out of pocket – at a cost of $600 to $1000 for PEP treatment alone – or foregoing the full PEP treatment. While it is important that minors involve trusted adults in their health care decision making when they can, that is unfortunately not always possible. In fact, studies demonstrate that not all teens have healthy, safe family relationships, and some teens are unable or unwilling to involve their parents after a sexual assault. Studies also show that teens will simply avoid sensitive health care services if their confidentiality is compromised or they are required to involve a parent.3
This leaves young people vulnerable: far too many minors experience sexual assault,4 and youth ages 13 to 24 accounted for more than 1 in 5 new HIV diagnoses in 2016.5 A.1204-A/S.2279-A will enable sexual assault survivors to receive timely HIV preventive care by requiring that treating hospitals make the full 28-day PEP regimen available to sexual assault survivors and ensuring that OVS will automatically cover the costs.
We understand that there may be a financial impact of this new requirement on the state; however, the bill maintains your administrative agencies’ authority to review and budget accordingly. As passed by the legislature, the bill preserves the current $800 cap on reimbursement for post-sexual assault care, but permits OVS and DOH to review the reimbursement rate annually to determine whether a higher rate is feasible and appropriate and, if so, to adjust the reimbursement rate accordingly.
We urge you to sign A.1204-A/S.2279-A into law swiftly to ensure that young people who experience sexual assault have prompt, confidential access to HIV preventive care that could save their lives. Time is of the essence.
Katharine ES Bodde
Senior Policy Counsel
Allison S Bohm
Policy Counsel NYCLU NYCLU
1 N.Y. Exec. Law § 626 (McKinney). 2 See Stanley Henshaw and Kathryn Kost, “Parental Involvement in Minors’ Abortion Decisions,” 24 Fam. Plan. Persp. 196, 207 (1992). 3 Jonathan Klein et al., “Access to medical care for adolescents: Results from the 1997 Commonwealth Fund Survey of the Health of Adolescent Girls,” 25 J. of Adolescent Health 120 (1999). 4 For example, 2010, 28% of heterosexual female sexual assault survivors were 11 to 17 years old when they were first raped. The National Center for Victims of Crime, “Sexual Violence,” 2018.