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Legislation introduced to increase critical access to HIV prevention medications
-- Press release from the Office of State Representative Kelly M. Cassidy 14th District
2022-03-04

This article shared 1315 times since Fri Mar 4, 2022
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SPRINGFIELD — Yesterday evening, HB4430—Increased Access to PrEP and PEP sponsored by Rep. Kelly M. Cassidy—was brought to the Illinois House floor to continue to address the health disparities communities disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic face, and to take steps to end the HIV epidemic in Illinois by 2030. Rep. Cassidy commented, "expanding access to this life-saving medication is a critical step towards our goal of Getting to Zero. I'm thankful to all of the stakeholders who share this goal for the effort it's taken to get to this point." With Rep. Cassidy's leadership, the bill successfully moved through the House, with a bipartisan vote of 71-24.

Supported by a broad coalition, including pharmacists, medical providers, HIV & LGBTQ advocacy groups, and community advocates, HB4430 will work to offset the persistent barriers that those most vulnerable to HIV, especially in Black and Latinx communities, face in accessing equitable health care and HIV prevention drugs. This bill specifically prioritizes pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post- exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which are two highly effective prevention methods in reducing the risk of acquiring HIV.

The Getting to Zero Illinois (GTZ-IL) dashboard illustrates how all genders, ages, racial and ethnic groups, and geographic regions in Illinois are affected by HIV; however, they are not affected equally. HB4430 will help further the goal of eradicating new HIV transmissions by 2030, especially among Black and Latinx Illinoisans, as part of the GTZ-IL initiative. With proper care and services like PrEP and PEP, HIV is completely preventable.

"Although PrEP and PEP are widely effective in preventing HIV transmission, Black, Latinx and LGBTQ+ communities still face barriers in accessing these medications," shared Timothy S. Jackson, Director of Government Relations for AIDS Foundation Chicago. "We need to operate differently to reach communities that have too often been left out and left behind. We know HB4430 is the bold action we need to bridge these gaps in accessing PrEP and PEP. In expanding access we are expanding equity and continuing to take steps towards our goal of Getting to Zero in Illinois by 2030."

When passed, this legislation will allow pharmacists to dispense and administer PrEP & PEP, under a standing order, to those who are at risk or who may have been exposed to HIV, without an initial visit to a doctor. The bill also aids pharmacists in referring individuals to ongoing preventative care and gives them the ability to connect patients to laboratories for additional tests to determine if PrEP is the most appropriate course of care. Allowing pharmacists to initiate PrEP and PEP offers individuals more easily accessible preventative care and in a non-stigmatizing, more approachable environment.

"The COVID pandemic has demonstrated the essential need for pharmacists' services and the quality of care that we provide. HB4430 enables pharmacists to continue to broaden our engagement of care and in providing access to PrEP and PEP for our communities through Illinois," said Garth Reynolds, Executive Director of the Illinois Pharmacists Association.


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