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Rape Victim Denied Healthcare For Taking Anti-AIDS Drug

I'll admit that I didn't know anything about the anti-AIDS medication given to rape victims until someone I know had to take it. The preventative drug cocktail, which must be started within 72 hours of exposure and taken over 28 days, is given as emergency treatment to people who might have been exposed to the HIV virus, often victims of rape.

Thanks to the debate raging over healthcare reform, it has come out that health insurance companies deny patients health insurance because they took the medication. At least that's what happened to Christina Turner. After being drugged by two strangers, Christina had physical injuries indicating that she had probably been sexually assaulted. Her doctor prescribed her the anti-AIDS medication, but she soon found out that taking it made her uninsurable. When she lost her coverage for an unrelated reason, Christina went out to purchase a new policy. Insurance companies examined her health records and found the anti-AIDS prescription. They told her that it raised too many health questions, and that she might be able to come back for coverage in a few years if she could prove she was AIDS free. They didn't seem to care that Christina had never contracted HIV.

It horrifies me that a woman who has been a victim of sexual assault can have that tragic experience held against her by health insurance companies. And I also can't help but think of what Christina's story means for people who are actually HIV positive. If Christina was penalized for merely taking this medication, it surely must be harder to get coverage if you are already living with the disease. What is your reaction to all of this?

Image Source: Getty
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