HIV prevention bill

From left, Reps. Leslie Herod and Alex Valdez with Sens. Kevin Priola and Dominick Moreno.

Legislation to make HIV prevention drugs available without a prescription is one stop away from the governor's desk, after the Senate passed House Bill 1061 Saturday.

The bill that originated in the House, where it passed 47-17 on March 5, and passed the upper chamber 30-3, but with an amendment — removing the requirement that health insurers cover it, since nearly all of them do. If the House approves the change, as expected, the bill would head next to Gov. Jared Polis to become law.

The legislation authorizes pharmacists to dispense PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) without a prescription.

“HIV is a devastating diagnosis for anyone, but it is particularly difficult for vulnerable populations and low-income communities,” Sen. Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City, one of the bill's sponsors, said in a statement.

“This bill will provide relief to those who struggle with getting the medication they need to both prevent infection and treat it.”

The bill is co-sponsored in the upper chamber by Sen. Kevin Priola, a Republican from Henderson. The House sponsors who introduced the bill are Reps. Leslie Herod of Denver and Alex Valdez, both Democrats

No one spoke against the change on the Senate floor Saturday, and Republican Sen. Jim Smallwood of Parker congratulated the advancement in pharmaceuticals with the support of insurers that made it possible.

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