(WSIL) — Legislation removing barriers to accessing HIV and AIDS care and prevention is now in effect in Illinois. HB4430 and HB5549 were signed into law Friday by Governor JB Pritzker.
HB4430 allows pharmacists to dispense both pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP and PEP) medications without prior referral from a physician.
The law also specifies that when these services are provided by a pharmacist, the care must be covered and reimbursed by insurance at the same rate as when provided by a doctor. Pharmacists will also receive support and training under the bill to refer patients to other care and support services and for further testing.
PrEP and PEP reduce the risk of HIV transmission by preventing the HIV virus from replicating in the human body. When taken correctly, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of contracting HIV by up to 99%.
HB5549 ensures that funding from the African American HIV/AIDS Response Fund will support research centers and resource centers run by representative members of the community.
The law project provides for the African American HIV/AIDS Response Fund to create and maintain at least one Black-led Center of Excellence Biomedical HIV Resource Center for every $3,000,000 of funding available.
According to the CDC, 46% of people living with HIV/AIDS in Illinois are black or African American. However, only 8% of PrEP prescriptions written nationwide each year are for black or African Americans. The Fund, originally established in 2006, is designed to target services to reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS among African Americans.
“If we want to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our state by 2030, we must make preventative care like PrEP and PEP available to all Illinoisans,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “These drugs are incredibly effective at preventing infection and transmission, and they are essential to our mission to get to zero. My Administration knows that these efforts must be equity-focused and proactive to have the greatest impact. That’s why we invest in black communities who are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. I am proud to sign these bills which bring us one step closer to our ultimate goal: zero new transmission of HIV.