Advertisement

Gov. Pritzker signs two bills removing barriers to HIV and AIDS care, prevention

Gov. Pritzker says the central goal of the plan is to increase access and adoption of...
Gov. Pritzker says the central goal of the plan is to increase access and adoption of antivirals like PrEP, which will be far easier with these drugs available through pharmacists.(Pexels)
Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 3:14 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ILLINOIS (KFVS) - Governor JB Pritzker signed two bills into law today that will remove barriers to access for HIV and AIDS care and prevention.

According to the governor’s office, the following two bills were signed into law:

  • HB4430 allows pharmacists to dispense both pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis drugs (PrEP and PEP) without a prior referral from a doctor.
  • HB5549 ensures funding from the African American HIV/AIDS Response Fund will support research centers and resources hubs led by representative members of the community.

“If we want to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our state by 2030, then we have to make preventative care like PrEP and PEP accessible to all Illinoisans,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “These medications are incredibly effective at preventing infection and transmission, and they are essential to our mission of Getting to Zero. My administration knows that these efforts must be equity-centered and proactive to have the biggest impact. That’s why we are investing in Black communities that are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. I am proud to sign these bills that bring us one step closer to our ultimate goal: zero new HIV transmissions.”

A release from Gov. Pritzker’s office tells us that PrEP and PEP reduce the risk of transmitting HIV by preventing the HIV virus from replicating in your body. When taken correctly, Gov. Pritzker says PrEP has been shown to reduce risk of contracting HIV by up to 99 percent.

Both drugs require consistent use, PEP is most effective when taken as soon as possible after exposure to the virus. The CDC currently estimates that less than 20 percent of those eligible for or possibly benefitting from PrEP take the medication.

According to the governor’s office, inability to access medical care due to financial hardship, cultural stigma, disability, or many other reasons can delay or interrupt the use of these drugs, rendering them less effective or preventing those at risk from adopting use at all. Providing administration and dispersal options from pharmacists makes prophylactic drugs more accessible and can protect countless Illinoisans from HIV/AIDS.

HB5549 provides that the African American HIV/AIDS Response Fund creates and maintains at least one Black-led Center of Excellence HIV Biomedical Resource Hub for every $3,000,000 of available funding.

According to the CDC, 46 percent of people living with HIV/AIDS in Illinois are Black or African American; however, only 8 percent of PrEP prescriptions written nationally each year are for Black or African American individuals. The originally established fund in 2006 is designed to target HIV/AIDS transmission reduction services among African Americans.

Gov. Pritzker says the central goal of the plan is to increase access and adoption of antivirals like PrEP, which will be far easier with these drugs available through pharmacists.

Additionally, it focuses on addressing racial disparities in healthcare to ensure the most at-risk are targeted for treatment and prevention.

“Access to quality healthcare, medicine, and services is a right and not a privilege. We must fight against disparities that disproportionately impact the health of Black and Brown people in this country,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “By signing legislation that sustains the African American HIV/AIDS Response Fund and makes PrEP and PEP more accessible, Illinois is widening the path for equitable care and community based support while fulfilling the promise of creating policy and allocating resources as we move towards our goal of ending the HIV epidemic in Illinois.”

Copyright 2022 KFVS. All rights reserved.