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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 30, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 40
California requires PrEP education
Section One
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California requires PrEP education

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a law requiring that people who get tested for HIV also receive education about PrEP.

The new law, known as AB 2640, was co-sponsored by the Los Angeles LGBT Center and AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA). It was intended to ensure that high-risk HIV-negative individuals receive information about methods that reduce the risk of contracting HIV, including PrEP and PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis, during post-HIV test counseling.

'We are extremely pleased that Gov. Brown has signed this bill into law,' APLA Health Chief Executive Officer Craig E. Thompson said.

'This is one of several proposals the governor has supported to increase information about and the availability of PrEP and PEP, and we thank him for his continued leadership on this issue.

'AB 2640 is a crucial step toward raising awareness about effective HIV prevention tools, reducing new infections, and ending the epidemic in California.'

Los Angeles LGBT Center Medical Director Dr. Robert Bolan said: 'With the stroke of his pen, Gov. Brown has played a significant and groundbreaking role in helping to fight HIV in the state that ranks second in the nation in cumulative AIDS cases.

'Those most at risk of HIV infection deserve to know about all the options to stay negative, including PrEP and PEP. By signing AB 2640, Gov. Brown is helping to promote options that have the potential to change the course of the epidemic in California and significantly reduce the HIV infection rate here.'

PrEP can reduce the chances of being infected with HIV by up to 99 percent if taken daily, and has been endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for regular use by at-risk men who have sex with men.

PEP is a way to prevent HIV infection after a possible recent exposure. It involves taking anti-retroviral medications as soon as possible after a single high-risk event to stop HIV from making copies of itself and spreading throughout the body.

According to the CDC, PEP should be used only in emergency situations and must be started within 72 hours after a recent possible exposure to HIV.

Despite the high-profile endorsements, some controversy over prophylactic drugs remains. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), also based in Los Angeles, opposes the use of PrEP because, they claim, it discourages men at risk of HIV infection from using condoms, which AHF considers the most reliable form of HIV prevention.

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