Insurers Drop Rape Victims Who Take HIV Meds

Assaulted women locked out of health care

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 22, 2009 11:16 AM CDT

(Newser) – Sexual assault victims prescribed precautionary HIV/AIDS meds risk being denied health insurance—because they have a pre-existing condition. The vast majority never develop the disease, but many have lost their insurance altogether, the Huffington Post reports. Others have been denied mental health care for PTSD that arose after they were assaulted (see video).

A spokesman for the main industry trade group says insurers don’t discriminate against sexual assault victims, but that anyone taking HIV drugs is considered “in treatment for HIV, period,” and may be denied coverage. Frustrated doctors say that’s not medically sound. “What are we supposed to tell women now?" said one nurse "Well, I guess you have a choice—you can risk your health insurance or you can risk AIDS. Go ahead and choose.”

The HIV drug Kaletra is seen in a Chicago pharmacy on Tuesday, June 5, 2007.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
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A Huffington Post video on the problems assault victims have getting mental health care.   (youtube.com)

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The chance of a rape victim actually contracting AIDS is very low. It doesn't make any sense to use that as a calculus for determining who get health insurance. - Dr. Alex Schafir

I'm going to be penalized my whole life because of this. - Christina Turner

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