On Monday (Oct. 7), California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom gave the green light to a law that allows pharmacies to sell HIV medication without a prescription. According to the Los Angeles Times, insurance companies will be prohibited from mandating proof for the need for the medication.
In a statement, Newsom stressed that science’s strides in providing care for HIV patients continue to grow with each breakthrough. “All Californians deserve access to PrEP and PEP, two treatments that have transformed our fight against HIV and AIDS,” he said. “I applaud the Legislature for taking action to expand access to these treatments and getting us close to ending HIV and AIDS for good.”
Ultimately, this new law hopes to reduce the transmission of HIV with easier access to the medication. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) are two of the drugs that will be administered without a prescription. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with HIV who take their medicine on a regular basis decrease the likelihood of their partner(s) contracting the disease through sexual intercourse. The medical website also notes that in 2017, blacks/African Americans in the United States made up 43 percent of new HIV diagnoses.
In addition to this legislature, a new law (SB 464) mandates perinatal administrators to undergo an implicit bias training concerning pregnant black women patients. The maternal mortality rate among black women continues to reach a fever pitch. The disproportionate effect of the maternal mortality rate on this community is a public health crisis and a major health equity issue,” Newsom said. Black women are three to four times more likely to die from childbirth than white women, according to the CDC.