HIV Prevention for Sexual Assault Survivors
ACT has been funded by the CT Department of Public Health to establish a program that will pay for Non-occupational Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (nPEP) for survivors of sexual assault who are un- or under-insured.
For this program we have partnered with Walgreens’ 19 Centers of Excellence, where there are HIV-certified pharmacists who have specialized training on HIV/AIDS and can answer any questions you have about the medications.
To access this program, an individual would need to go to an emergency room within 72 hours post-assault. The Emergency Room (ER) medical providers will determine if the person is eligible for nPEP.
Once it is determined that the individual is eligible for nPEP, the medical provider at the ER will issue a prescription and a simple form that the individual will present to a participating Walgreens Pharmacy. The form will allow the patient to access the medication free of charge.
What is nPEP?
Non-occupational Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (nPEP) is treatment for a possible exposure to HIV outside of a health care setting. nPEP involves the use of antiretroviral drugs within 72 hours after a high-risk exposure to HIV such as a needle stick or unprotected sex with someone who is known to be HIV+ or suspected to be at risk for HIV.
nPEP is taken to reduce (but not eliminate) the possibility of HIV infection. Antiretroviral medications are used to treat HIV disease and, in this case, nPEP is a four-week program of two or three antiretroviral medications, taken several times a day. The medications have serious side effects that can make it difficult to finish the program.
Treatment should be started promptly, preferably within the first several hours after an exposure. It should be administered within 48 hours of a high-risk exposure (not to exceed 72 hours). The sooner nPEP is administered, the more effective it is.
If a high-risk exposure has occurred, what should I do?
In the case of a high-risk exposure to HIV, the individual should be referred immediately to a hospital emergency room (ER). ER staff will determine the severity of the exposure and if the administration of nPEP is an option.
Medical professionals who are unsure if nPEP should be administered should call the National Clinicians' Post-Exposure Prophylaxis Hotline (PEPline) at 1-888-448-4911 for consultation. Hotline staff will help determine if nPEP should be administered, and recommend a treatment regimen specific to the exposure and the source history (if available).
People with adequate insurance can access nPEP through their health care providers.
Additional Considerations for Sexual Assault Victims
The CT Sexual Assault Crisis Service
CONNSACS is a statewide coalition of sexual assault crisis programs. CONNSACS works to end sexual violence through victim assistance, community education, and public policy advocacy. All member programs are staffed by certified sexual assault crisis counselors.
All services are free of charge, confidential, and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There is a statewide toll-free hotline. By dialing (888) 999-5545 from anywhere in Connecticut, the call will be automatically routed to the nearest sexual assault crisis service. En espanol, llame (888) 568-8332.
Sexual assault crisis counselors/advocates are available to meet survivors at the emergency room following a sexual assault. These advocates can provide information and support to survivors and their loved ones. Advocates are also able to provide support to survivors when they talk to the police.
AIDS Service Organizations
For information about HIV/AIDS and the services available, click here for a list of our member agencies.
For more information:
Contact Shawn M. Lang, ACT's Director of Public Policy, at 860-247-AIDS x319.