HIV Treatment Availability and Male Rape

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Conference
2008 National LGBT Conference
Date
24 July 2008
Decision

This Conference expresses its disgust at all forms of sexual assault. Victims of such crimes deserve the full support of everybody and the full protection of the law.

Conference notes that sex attacks on men could be reported less consistently than attacks on women; therefore male victims may remain invisible and unsupported. Conference notes that not all victims of male rape, or their attackers, identify as gay or bisexual.

A key first-response treatment which can prevent a victim from contracting HIV after exposure is “Post Exposure Prophylaxis” (PEP). This treatment can defeat the virus after it has entered the body, but only if started urgently and in any event within three days. Its effectiveness is directly related to how quickly it can be administered.

PEP consists of a full month treatment of anti-HIV medication and requires careful consideration before being prescribed. There is no guarantee that PEP will work, and very significant side-effects may be experienced.

Conference welcomes any initiatives to promote awareness of PEP from Genito-Urinary clinics and through other sexual health routes. However there may still be many people, including healthcare professionals and the victims of sex crimes, who do not know about it or encounter barriers to its timely prescription. PEP is often also considered for needle-stick injuries and similar accidental exposure incidents.

This conference recognises that PEP is not a substitute for safer sex practices and must not be perceived as such; however it should be a consideration in all cases of sexual assault and rape.

Conference feels that HIV/AIDS is an issue for the whole of society, however the LGBT community may be particularly vulnerable to predatory attacks and opportunistic non-consensual sex.

Conference therefore urges the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Committee to work with the National Executive Council and colleagues in appropriate service groups, including Health and Police Staff, in order to:

1.Raise a better awareness of PEP among health care providers and UNISON’s LGBT membership;

2.Promote and encourage the timely reporting of sex crimes by male victims; and

3. Collate and disseminate examples of good practice in these areas.