California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has signed laws that permit pharmacists in the state to dispense medication designed to prevent HIV without a prescription.
Newsom signed off on the measure, also called Senate Bill 159, on Monday. The bill’s passage comes after the California State Legislature voted overwhelmingly to pass the test in each of its chambers last month.
The bill, co-authored by state Sen. Scott Wiener (D), aims to significantly increase access to PrEP and PEP medication in the state by permitting pharmacists to furnish the medicine to patients without a prescription.
PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis medication, is highly effective for those at “very high risk” of HIV when taken daily, according to the CDC. The agency additionally cited research that discovered the drug to have reduced a person’s threat of contracting HIV from sex by roughly 99 % with regular use.
Based on the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund, PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis medication, is used to prevent HIV immediately after possible exposure to the virus. Its effectiveness at preventing the virus from spreading relies on how quickly a patient takes the medication.
Newsom’s office said the bill additionally “prohibits insurance companies from requiring prior authorizations for patients to acquire PrEP coverage.”
In a statement his office published shortly after the bill signing on Monday, Newsom said that all Californians deserve to PrEP and PEP treatments that have transformed battle towards HIV and AIDS.
He applauds the Legislature for taking action to increase access to these treatments and getting us closer to ending HIV and AIDS for good.