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Californians can soon get HIV-prevention medication without a prescription

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Posted at 7:08 PM, Oct 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-07 22:08:39-04

California's governor has signed legislation that will allow patients to buy HIV prevention pills from pharmacists without a prescription.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday signed a law authorizing pharmacists to provide both pre-exposure and post-exposure drugs directly to patients.

Supporters of the legislation say California is the first state to make both available without prescription, and the action will greatly reduce barriers to PrEP, or preexposure prophylaxis, and PEP, post-exposure prophylaxis.

Supporters say PEP significantly reduces the risk of infection if taken within 72 hours of exposure, but patients may not always be able to see a doctor in that time frame.

The law was co-authored by state Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco, who has publicly disclosed that he takes PrEP as an HIV prevention strategy.

The California HIV Surveillance Report in 2017 found that about 135,000 people who live in the state have been diagnosed with HIV.