A hospital in Australia is denying claims that they refused to give a gay man emergency HIV prevention medication after he was allegedly raped.
The Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) stands by its care of an unnamed man who claimed he was not give PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis).
PEP is a month-long course of anti-HIV drugs that may prevent HIV infection after a possible exposure to HIV. For PEP to be effective, it must be started within 72 hours after a possible exposure to HIV.
The man attended the RMH’s emergency ward in early November. He was admitted to the hospital for four days, where he said he requested multiple times to be given PEP.
‘They wouldn’t let me out of hospital, so I couldn’t go and seek PEP from another hospital,’ he told Star Observer.
‘They wouldn’t give me a clear answer on whether they were going to give (PEP) to me. They took bloods and said another department was going to make the decision.’
The man alleges by the time the hospital made the decision to give him PEP, the 72-hour timeframe to take it had passed.
‘By the time they made their decision… it was too late,’ he said.
Hospital patient confidentiality
RMH told Gay Star News that it was not able to discuss the specifics of the man’s care, but that the hospital has a clear procedure on administering PEP.
‘Patient privacy prevents us giving specifics relating to an individual’s care. This patient was assessed and given clinically appropriate care and treatment based on the information provided,’ a RMH spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said it follows the guidelines of the Victorian NPEP (Non-Occupational Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) Service when administering PEP.
The RMH’s Victorian Infectious Disease Service (VIDS) is responsible for prescribing PEP according to those guidelines.
‘Prescribing of PEP will depend on the circumstances of the patient’s arrival to hospital,’ the spokesperson said.
‘The Emergency Department’s medical staff will always consult with a doctor from VIDS to determine if PEP is medically appropriate, based on the information provided by the patient.’