Housing Works, the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women and other groups are issuing a call to action to prevent the signing of a bill that would allow rape survivors to force their suspected attackers to get tested for HIV. Governor Eliot Spitzer has invited the public to weigh in on the bill, known as A.4861/S. 3470, by calling 518-474-8390 or 212-681-4640.

Opponents, including POZ editor-in-chief Regan Hofmann, have argued that the bill puts the focus in the wrong place: trying to identify the HIV status of suspected assailants instead of protecting the health of the victim, who they say would benefit more from immediately starting on Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). Also, they argue that a suspect’s negative test result might provide a rape survivor with a false sense of security, because she may put herself in danger by choosing to bypass testing and PEP altogether.

Housing Works and other activist groups marched on Albany in June to prevent the bill from passing in the Assembly following its approval in the Senate. It passed regardless, and is waiting to be signed by Governor Spitzer.