15 Jul American Academy of HIV Medicine Says New Connecticut PrEP Bill Empowers Adolescents to Protect Themselves Against HIV; Serves as Model for Other States to Follow
Washington, DC –The American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM), the nation’s leading independent organization of healthcare professionals dedicated to providing excellence in HIV care and prevention, praised Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont for signing into law HB 6540 entitled “An Act Concerning the Prevention of HIV.” The bill allows Connecticut health providers to prescribe pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) without parental consent to minors who disclose that they are at risk of HIV exposure and request PrEP for protection. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), PrEP, a daily oral medication, reduces the risk of HIV infection by at least 92% when taken correctly.
Last March, AAHIVM wrote to the CT Public Health Committee in support of the bill HB 6540 which was introduced by Representative Jeff Currey (D) and Representative Raghib Allie Brennan (D).
“The prerequisite of parental consent for minors to access PReP may create a harmful obstacle and ultimately a higher number of HIV diagnoses,” stated Representative Currey. “HB 6540, now Public Act 19-109, demonstrates Connecticut’s continued commitment to supporting healthy and thoughtful medical practices by allowing our most at-risk populations access to effective medication to prevent a lifetime and life-changing infection.”
Connecticut’s Health Department data show that 34% of people with HIV in the state were young people and that HIV diagnoses in the state rose by 4% in 2017 (most recent data available).
“This bill will be an important tool to get PrEP to the highest risk individuals regardless of age, since the bottom line is preventing new HIV infections,” stated David S. Rubin, MD, AAHIVS, physician at World Health Clinicians in Norwalk, CT and co-chair of the AAHIVM New England Chapter. “I commend Governor Lamont and the state legislature for increasing access to prevention tools for those most at risk for HIV, namely, youth.”
The bill was enacted on July 1, 2019.
“It’s my hope that there will be swift implementation of the new law in order to maximize the great benefit it will bring,” stated Marjorie Golden, MD, AAHIVS, physician at Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, CT, and co-chair of the AAHIVM New England Chapter. “We know that there are currently many adolescents too overcome with fear and stigma to ask their parents’ permission to protect themselves with PrEP. They need to feel empowered to manage their health, and the clinical community is ready to help.”
PrEP support is gaining enormous traction nationally as well. The Connecticut law comes on the heels of the federal PrEP Access and Coverage Act recently introduced by U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) which requires all public and private health insurance plans to cover the drug—as well as all required tests and follow-up visits—without a copay.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) also announced in June that PrEP would be receiving its highest rating of an “A” grade. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that most private insurance plans and Medicaid expansion programs cover the entire cost of medications that have a USPSTF A or B rating, with no ancillary cost-sharing paid by the consumer. This new USPSTF rating, therefore, should greatly improve PrEP access for those enrolled in ACA plans and in those Medicaid expansion states.
“Connecticut is leading the way in reducing the stigma and barriers that complicate PrEP access for adolescents,” stated Bruce J. Packett, AAHIVM executive director. “Other states would be wise to look to Connecticut’s progressive policy on youth prevention access and follow suit.”
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ABOUT AAHIVM: The American Academy of HIV Medicine is the nation’s leading independent organization of healthcare professionals dedicated to providing excellence in HIV care and prevention. Our membership of practitioners and credentialed providers manage the health of the majority of people with and at risk for HIV in the United States. AAHIVM’s mission is to ensure health care professionals have the resources needed to provide prevention, treatment and care for those living with or at risk for HIV and related conditions to achieve optimal health.
- AIDS Vu. Mapping PrEP: First Ever Data on PrEP Users across the U.S. https://aidsvu.org/prep/.
- Mayer KH, Chan PA, Patel R, Flash CA, Douglas S Krakower. Evolving models and ongoing challenges for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis implementation in the United States. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr.(2017) 77:119–27.