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California governor signs landmark PrEP & PEP education bill into law

California governor signs landmark PrEP & PEP education bill into law

Jerry Brown is into his fourth term as governor of California.

California has become the first state in the US to have a law to boost awareness of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent HIV infection.

California Governor Jerry Brown on Monday (26 October) signed the legislation, known as AB 2640, into law.

It is seen as a crucial step toward raising awareness about effective HIV prevention tools and reducing new infections.

‘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, said Los Angeles LGBT Center Medical Director Dr. Robert Bolan.

The Center co-sponsored the legislation with AIDS Project Los Angeles Health and the bill was introduced into the state legislature by Democratic Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson of Carson.

‘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,’ Gipson said in a statement.

PrEP works this way: an HIV-negative person takes 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.

But a survey of gay and bisexual men by the California HIV/AIDS Research Program in 2015 showed that awareness of these life-saving treatments is low.

Only 1 in 10 respondents had ever used PrEP and nearly 85% had never talked to their doctor about it.