SPRINGFIELD — To allow more people to access HIV preventative care easier, Illinois state Sen. Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) is leading a measure to allow pharmacists to provide HIV tests and preventative medications to help reduce new HIV infections.
Simmons' measure would allow pharmacists to dispense and administer drugs, order laboratory tests, and consult individuals related to HIV pre-exposure drugs (PrEP) and post-exposure drugs (PEP). Pharmacists would first have to complete an educational training course on the administration of tests and medications prior to being permitted to assist patients.
"This bill will cut down on waiting times and provide potentially life-saving care to thousands of Illinoisans," Simmons said. "Doing so will especially help reduce new HIV infections among cisgender Black women, LGBTQ+ people, Latinos, and those who lack health insurance."
Under current law, pharmacists in Illinois are not permitted to consult or assess individuals on HIV infections. Pharmacists are also not permitted to administer or dispense preventative medications without a prescription from a health care provider.
"Far too many people in Illinois lack regular access to a doctor," Simmons said. "Increasing access to PrEP and PEP medication through community-based pharmacies will save lives."
This bill may help reduce new HIV cases by up to 90% by 2030. Biomedical solutions PrEP and PEP medications are up to 99% effective in preventing HIV when taken as prescribed, according to the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.
House Bill 4430 passed the senate and awaits further consideration.