On Wednesday, August 7, Gov. JB Pritzker signed HB 2665 (the Youth PrEP bill) into law. This enables young people across Illinois to access preventive health care services, like PrEP, without parental consent.
"Young people don’t wait to have sex until they’re 18, and HIV doesn’t wait either. This legislation will help ensure young people under the age of 18 have easy access to an incredibly effective and safe HIV prevention tool," said Jim Pickett, AFC's Senior Director of Prevention Advocacy and Gay Men's Health.
This law would align Illinois law with existing federal guidance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, who in 2012 approved PrEP for use by young people who do not have HIV to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV. PrEP is nearly 100% effective at preventing HIV transmission when used consistently and correctly.
Increasing access to PrEP is critical to helping the state achieve its Getting to Zero Illinois goal of ending the HIV epidemic in Illinois by 2030.
"I am so proud to have introduced and be the chief House sponsor of the Youth PrEP Bill," Rep. Lamont Robinson (D-Chicago) shared.
"While new HIV/AIDS transmissions are down 35% in Illinois over the last decade, black gay men are experiencing an increase in HIV cases, particularly among youth. They need easy access to the highly successful PrEP drug, and this will help them achieve that. Thank you to the AIDS Foundation of Chicago for its initiative on this issue, to Sen. Robert Peters for sponsoring it in the Senate and to Gov. Pritzker for his support," said Robinson.
Gay youth constitute 85% of new HIV diagnoses among youth aged 13-24. Black and Latinx youth are disparately impacted.
“There are a lot of young people who don’t feel safe going to their parents with issues like these, which puts them at risk. No kid should be afraid due to shame or cost to get their medical needs met,” said Sen. Robert Peters (D-Chicago), Senate Sponsor of HB 2665.
"With this new law, young people will be empowered to take control of their health."
AFC thanks Gov. JB Pritzker, House sponsor Rep. Lamont Robinson and Senate sponsor Sen. Robert Peters for their leadership on this issue.
AFC also thanks Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), Sen. Linda Holmes, Sen. Emil Jones and Sen. Toi Hutchinson for standing up for young people across Illinois during the floor debate in the House and Senate, and assisting in getting HB 2665 passed this past legislative session.