December 21, 2022
Governor Hochul Signs Legislation Expanding Access to PrEP and PEP Medication That Help Prevent HIV
Legislation S.688/A.807 Requires Insurance Companies to Cover Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) to Help End the HIV Epidemic in New York
Governor Hochul today signed legislation (S.688/A.807) requiring insurance companies to cover pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to help prevent against HIV infection.
"New York was once the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and we have a moral obligation to keep up the fight to end the epidemic once and for all," Governor Hochul said. "PrEP and PEP are critical tools that help prevent new HIV infections and every eligible New Yorker should have access to these vital medications."
Legislation S.688/A.807 requires that any insurance policy that provides coverage for prescription drugs includes coverage for the cost of PrEP and PEP — two important tools for preventing the spread of HIV. According to the Centers for Disease Control, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people at high risk of contracting HIV by up to 92 percent, when taken consistently. New York State continues to have the highest PrEP coverage in the nation, and has more people receiving it than almost any other jurisdiction. PEP regimens are antiretroviral drugs taken to stop the spread of HIV after a single high-risk event. PEP can be used to treat health care workers who have been exposed to the blood or bodily fluids of HIV-positive patients, as well as people who have been exposed to HIV through unprotected sex, needle sharing, or sexual assault. This new law will help ensure that more New Yorkers can access these lifesaving tools, which are an important part of the fight to end the HIV epidemic in New York.
State Senator Brad Hoylman said, "New York has made significant progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS since committing to end the epidemic in 2014, but the rate of new infections still rose between 2020 and 2021 with over 2,100 cases last year. Widening access to PrEP and PEP, which prevent new infections, will help stop the spread. With this bill signing, New York is renewing its commitment to public health, especially in the LGBTQ community. Thank you to Assembly Member O'Donnell for championing this bill in the Assembly, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins for bringing it to the Senate floor, and Governor Hochul for signing it into law."
Assemblymember Danny O'Donnell said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And access to preventative medicine is essential in our fight against HIV. The epidemic isn't over. But PEP and PrEP are proven to prevent the transmission of HIV, and no one should be denied access to these revolutionary medications due to cost or lack of insurance coverage. This is a bill that helps LGBTQ people, communities of color, and anyone at higher risk of HIV exposure by ensuring that lack of insurance coverage will never be the barrier to accessing PEP or PrEP. Thank you to my colleagues, Governor Hochul, Senator Hoylman, and the advocates who worked to pass this important legislation."
Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said, "PrEP and PEP medications are vital resources that are proven to be highly effective in preventing transmission and curbing the spread of HIV. These medications must be available, accessible, and above all, affordable to all New Yorkers. I applaud Governor Hochul for signing this important legislation and bringing New York another step closer to ending the epidemic."
New York State Department of Financial Services Superintendent Adrienne Harris said, "This is an important step towards ending the epidemic in New York and ensuring that New Yorkers, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression, have the opportunity to proactively protect their health and well-being. The Department will continue to support Governor Hochul and the legislature's efforts to expand access to PrEP and PEP, providing New Yorkers with critical access to these lifesaving medications.”