California became the first state nationwide to make HIV prevention drugs accessible over-the-counter rather than limited prescriptions after Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill passed by the state legislature into law on Monday, October 7. Pharmacies across the state will be legally permitted to provide PrEP and PEP, HIV pre-exposure and post-exposure preventative medicines, without a doctor’s prescription to anyone who needs it.
The new law will also prevent private insurance companies from requiring official medical authorization before a medical patient receives or uses these prevention medicines. State and federal public-funded healthcare programs such as Medicaid for the poor and Medicare for the elderly cover medications such as PreP and PEP.
According to the CDC, daily usage of PreP for HIV negative heterosexual and non-heterosexual men and women reduces the health risk of contracting the virus that causes AIDS by about 99%. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the proper emergency usage of PEP within 72 hours or 3 days after a possible exposure to HIV to prevent viral infection is most likely effective.
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