Take Action to Expand Access to PrEP and PEP in Illinois!
Illinois House Bill 4430 would expand access to PrEP and PEP by making them available in pharmacies without a prescription. This bill has already passed through the Illinois House and is now up for consideration in the Senate. Here’s a quick look at why PrEP and PEP matter and how you can support HB 4430.
Expanding Access with HB 4430
HB 4430, also known as the Increasing Access to PrEP & PEP Act, amends the Pharmacy Practice Act and would give pharmacists the ability to provide PrEP and PEP without a prescription. This will expand access to care by providing familiar and convenient locations for people to access PrEP and PEP. This is especially true for marginalized communities that may not engage with or have easy access to primary care but do regularly access community pharmacies. Because everyone goes to the pharmacy for one reason or another, these locations can also be less stigmatizing environments to access PrEP and PEP compared to HIV or LGBTQ+ clinics. In addition, pharmacists can help link PrEP and PEP clients to primary care for long-term HIV prevention care. HB 4430 meets people where they are at by acknowledging that medical institutions are not accessible to all, particularly those most at-risk. You can help right now by contacting your representative directly with one click.
What is PrEP/PEP?
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) are proven prevention methods for reducing the risk of acquiring HIV. PrEP is taken on a regular basis—usually daily, though monthly or bi-monthly injectable PrEP is now an option as well—prior to exposure to prevent HIV transmission. PEP is similar but used within 72 hours after a potential HIV exposure. PrEP and PEP are vital public health interventions for ending the HIV epidemic.
Research shows that there are stark disparities in PrEP awareness, uptake, and adherence among communities most impacted by HIV. According to a 2018 CDC study, of the estimated 1.1 million adults for whom PrEP was indicated in 2015, 26.3% were white, 43.7% were black, and 24.7% were Hispanic. However, among the 78,360 people who filled PrEP prescriptions in 2016, 68.7% were white and only 11.2% were black and only 13.1% were Hispanic. Additionally, women accounted for just 4.7% of the 78,360 PrEP users, and just 26% of PrEP users were in the Southern United States where 52% of HIV diagnoses occurred in 2016.
These disparities are rooted in harmful, long-standing stigma, LGBTQ+ discrimination, systemic racism, medical mistrust, and a lack of access to health care. For example, Black and Brown communities in particular have fewer access points to primary care and can be justifiably apprehensive in accessing healthcare due to historic and pervasive racism within medical institutions. This makes it especially difficult for these communities to access PrEP and PEP, as they are only available by prescription from a medical provider. The lack of PrEP uptake among these populations is especially problematic because these populations are most burdened by HIV. According to 2019 Illinois Department of Public Health data, Black men, transgender women of color, and Black cisgender women make up nearly 40% of people living with HIV in Illinois. Increasing access to PrEP and PEP, especially for Black, Latinx and LGBTQ+ communities most impacted by HIV, is vital to ending the HIV epidemic.
You can help expand access to PrEP by supporting HB 4430. Contact your elected officials with just one click: https://p2a.co/EpfSBRQ