South Africa: HIV Treatment Takes Precedence Over Rape Law
October 28, 2002
On October 23, South Africa's Cabinet approved the Compulsory HIV Testing of Alleged Sexual Offenders Bill, which provides "for a speedy and uncomplicated mechanism for victims of sexual offences to apply for the alleged perpetrator to be tested for HIV and the results disclosed to the victim." In April, the government announced the post-exposure prophylaxis program, in which rape survivors receive antiretrovirals in the public health sector within 72 hours to prevent HIV infection. AIDS Law Project Liesl Grientholtz said that the legislation would help few women, because very few rape suspects are arrested, but she acknowledged that the tests conducted will give women peace of mind. She added that the process should be fast-tracked so victims can receive the necessary treatment against HIV/AIDS, and police, doctors and health care workers should be empowered to tell victims where and how to obtain treatment.
10.24.02; BuaNews (Pretoria)
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.