Law passes, creates more access to HIV medications

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 9:37 PM CDT
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BONO, Ark. (KAIT) - A new law signed by Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders expands access to preventative and post-exposure HIV medication.

Act 314 allows pharmacists to prescribe the medication, in addition to physicians.

“It’s exciting times, just like other laws that have been passed recently for pharmacists,” said Dylan Dulaney, lead pharmacist for Bono Family Pharmacy

The Arkansas Department of Health has a five-year plan to end the HIV epidemic in Arkansas.

This law is just one part of the plan, but a step to help prevent more people from contracting the virus.

In 2020, nearly 250 new cases were reported according to AIDSVu data.

“We have to emphasize that is a law that has been passed and we are quite a ways from implementation,” said Dulaney.

The law has passed, but now the pharmacy and medical boards have to work to put together a protocol for the distribution at pharmacies.

Dulaney said it is estimated it may take up to a year for pharmacists to receive their guidelines and get certified to prescribe the medication.

“You still have the steps, it’s not just ‘hey I need this, bye’. You have to come in work through the protocol, once it is developed, then you would be able to leave with a description,” he said.

This protocol process is similar to other medications available to be prescribed by pharmacists in the state.

“Very similar to what we currently have like for protocols for flu test and treat, strep test and treat, even birth control now,” said Dulaney.

Although it may be a while before implementation happens it is still a big step for HIV prevention and care.

“It’ about working together as a medical team,” he said. “And expanding access and expanding care Arkansans.”

The five-year plan by the Arkansas Department of Health aims to decrease new HIV cases by 75% by 2025 and at least 90% by 2030.