California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill into law that will require that HIV-negative people who are tested for the virus to receive information from their medical care provider or the person administering the test about the availability of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), information they were not heretofore required to receive.
This is the first legislation of its kind to be passed in any state. Advocates hope the new information will massively reduce the number of new HIV cases.
Writes the Los Angeles LGBT Center in a press release:
PrEP has been shown to be up to 99% effective at preventing HIV transmission. PEP involves taking anti-HIV medications as soon as possible after a potential exposure to reduce the risk of becoming HIV-positive. According to a 2015 survey of gay and bisexual men by the California HIV/AIDS Research Program, only 1 in 10 respondents had ever used PrEP and nearly 85% had never talked to their doctor about PrEP.
The bill was co-sponsored by the Los Angeles LGBT Center and APLA Health and introduced by Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson).
Said APLA Health CEO Craig E. Thompson: “We are extremely pleased that Governor Brown has signed this bill into law. This is one of several proposals the governor has supported to increase information about and the availability of PrEP and PEP, and we thank him for his continued leadership on this issue. AB 2640 is a crucial step toward raising awareness about effective HIV prevention tools, reducing new infections, and ending the epidemic in California.”
Said Los Angeles LGBT Center Medical Director Dr. Robert Bolan of the new law:
“With the stroke of his pen, Governor Brown has played a significant and groundbreaking role in helping to fight HIV in the state that ranks second in the nation in cumulative AIDS cases. Those most at risk of HIV infection deserve to know about all the options to stay negative, including PrEP and PEP. By signing AB 2640, Governor Brown is helping to promote options that have the potential to change the course of the epidemic in California and significantly reduce the HIV infection rate here.”
“It is estimated that 1 in 2 Black gay men and 1 in 4 Latino gay men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime if infection rates continue to rise. This is unconscionable. Women of color and transgender individuals are also among the groups at greatest risk for HIV. We now have effective tools like PrEP and PEP that can help end the HIV epidemic, but that won’t happen unless people know about them. With the signing of AB 2640, we are now doing more to make sure that people know about the tools available to protect themselves.”