SPRINGFIELD — On April 7, HB4430Increasing Access to PrEP and PEP sponsored by State Representative Kelly M. Cassidypassed the Illinois House on concurrence with a vote of 72-30. 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 bill will soon be sent over to the Governor's Desk for the final step in the state legislative process.
Once signed into law, HB4430 would enact the following reforms:
- Allow pharmacists, under a standing order, to initiate lifesaving pre-and post-exposure prophylaxis medication and care to the communities most vulnerable to HIV.
- Aid pharmacists in referring individuals to ongoing preventative care and giving them the ability to connect patients to laboratories for additional tests to determine if PrEP is the most appropriate course of care. Pharmacists will continue to facilitate connections to ongoing medical care and social support services.
With Governor Pritzker's signature, Illinois will become the 8th state in the nation to make HIV prevention care more accessible by expanding access through pharmacies.
"The passing of HB4430 is momentous as we are truly changing lives and circumstances for many Illinoisians who've been too often left out and left behind," said Cassidy. "This win exemplifies our power to change once we engage the whole community, from medical providers to community advocates. We are one step closer to our goal of getting to zero new cases of HIV transmission by 2030, but work does not stop here. Together, we must continue listening and addressing the needs of our community."
Supported by a broad coalition, including AIDS Foundation Chicago, 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.
The Getting to Zero Illinois (GTZ-IL) dashboard illustrates that all genders, races, racial and ethnic groups and geographic regions in Illinois are affected by HIV; however, they are not affected equally.
"This bill will cut down on waiting times and provide potentially life-saving care to thousands of Illinoisans," said state Sen. Mike Simmons (D-Chicago). "Doing so will especially help reduce new HIV transmissions among Black cisgender women, LGBTQ+ people, Latinos, and those who lack health insurance."
According to Illinois Department of Public Health data, at 2019-year end:
- 9,072 Black men were living with diagnosed HIV, representing 25% of people living with HIV in Illinois and 4,538 cisgender Black women were living with HIV, representing 13% of people living with diagnosed HIV in Illinois.
- In 2019, 580 individuals identified as transgender were living with diagnosed HIV in Illinois, accounting for 1.6% of all individuals living with diagnosed HIV in the state. Of this group, 348 identified as transgender women of color.
- In Illinois outside Chicago, new diagnoses among Hispanics/Latinos is up 32%. Across the state, 7,055 Hispanic/Latinx Illinoisians are living with diagnosed HIV.
Getting to Zero in Illinois by 2030 will not be a straightforward journey, nor will the passing of each bill mark the day that Illinois reaches this goal. The mobilization of communities to continue advocating is pivotal to keeping GTZ-IL on the right track. AFC and GTZ-IL call on people and communities across the state to continue mobilizing.
For more information about HB4430, visit the Advocacy Action Center here: https://p2a.co/EpfSBRQ