Landmark PrEP & PEP Education Bill is Signed into Law by Governor Brown

Co-Sponsored by Los Angeles LGBT Center and APLA Health, AB 2640
Ensures HIV-Negative Individuals Receive Information about PrEP and PEP
During HIV Post-Test Counseling

Landmark legislation to boost awareness of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent HIV infection was signed into law today by California Gov. Jerry Brown, becoming the first statewide legislation of its kind.

Co-sponsored by the Los Angeles LGBT Center and APLA Health and introduced by Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson), AB 2640 will ensure high-risk HIV-negative individuals receive information about methods that reduce the risk of contracting HIV, including PrEP and PEP, during HIV post-test counseling.

“We are extremely pleased that Governor 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.”

PrEP is an HIV prevention strategy in which HIV-negative individuals take a daily medication to reduce their risk of becoming infected. PrEP has been shown to be up to 99% effective at preventing HIV transmission. PEP involves taking anti-HIV medications as soon as possible after a potential exposure to reduce the risk of becoming HIV-positive. According to a 2015 survey of gay and bisexual men by the California HIV/AIDS Research Program, only 1 in 10 respondents had ever used PrEP and nearly 85% had never talked to their doctor about PrEP.

“With the stroke of his pen, Governor 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,” Los Angeles LGBT Center Medical Director Dr. Robert Bolan said. “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, Governor 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.”

The West Hollywood City Council recently voted to require that the city’s contracted providers of HIV testing provide information about PrEP during pre- and/or post-test counseling. However, there is currently no statewide requirement to provide information about any HIV prevention methods, including PrEP and PEP, during HIV post-test counseling.

“It is estimated that 1 in 2 Black gay men and 1 in 4 Latino gay men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime if infection rates continue to rise. This is unconscionable. Women of color and transgender individuals are also among the groups at greatest risk for HIV,” Assemblymember Gipson said. “We now have effective tools like PrEP and PEP that can help end the HIV epidemic, but that won’t happen unless people know about them. With the signing of AB 2640, we are now doing more to make sure that people know about the tools available to protect themselves.”