Sacramento Bee Examines Recent Law on ‘Morning-After’ HIV Treatments
The Sacramento Bee on Sunday examined a recently enacted state law (AB 879) that could "mark the first step" toward increasing access to medications that may help prevent HIV infection if taken immediately after exposure (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 11/2). AB 879, sponsored by Assembly member Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood), requires DHS to form a task force that will be charged with creating treatment guidelines for cases of inadvertent sexual or needle exposure to HIV. The state currently only has post-exposure treatment guidelines for health care workers and sexual assault survivors who are exposed to the virus (California Healthline, 10/14). The Bee reports that the post-exposure treatment, known as post-exposure prophylaxis or PEP, is an antiviral treatment that is like a "morning-after pill" for HIV infection and is similar to antiviral cocktail drugs taken by HIV-positive patients. The new task force guidelines are intended to help doctors assess a patient's degree of risk of having contracted HIV and decide whether to prescribe PEP. The guidelines are needed because many doctors currently do not feel qualified to prescribe PEP without consulting experts, the Bee reports. Medi-Cal and some private health insurers, including Blue Cross of California and Kaiser Permanente, cover the cost of PEP (Sacramento Bee, 11/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.