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Some calling for better access to HIV prevention drugs in Minnesota

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California-HIV Prevention
Pharmacist Clint Hopkins displays the HIV prevention drug Truvada at Pucci's Pharmacy in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Oct. 7, 2019. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill, SB159, by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, Monday, authorizing pharmacists to sell HIV preventative medications to patients without a physician's prescription.
Rich Pedroncelli | AP
Some calling for better access to HIV prevention drugs in Minnesota
by MPR

A new law in California allows HIV prevention drugs to be prescribed by pharmacists instead of doctors. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the law last week. 

Some in Minnesota, including JustUs Health, are calling for similar availability here.    

The drugs are known as PrEP and PEP, of pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis. They're effective and seen as an important tool in preventing HIV infection. But Dr. Joshua Thompson, a doctor at the University of Minnesota Physicians Mill City Clinic, said there hasn’t been as much of an uptake in at-risk communities as doctors would like to see.

“And there are real disparities, particularly among people of color, with getting access to these medications,” he said. 

Eliminating the need to see a doctor for an initial prescription could improve access. But Thompson said there are concerns that misuse of the drug — using it when one already has HIV — could lead to an increase in HIV resistance. 

To learn more about the California law and how it tries to avoid that, click play on the audio player above.