On Jan. 16, State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced Senate Bill 859, which would require state agencies to establish and implement a master plan to end new infections of human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis C virus and other sexually transmitted diseases.
The diseases disproportionately impact gay and bisexual men, African-American men and young people ages 15-24. Though many effective preventative and treatment tools exist today, these epidemics still persist.
In a society that has the ability to treat and prevent against new infections, it is unacceptable that the rates of infection have barely slowed and have increased in communities of color, said Wiener, the bill’s author and longtime LGBTQ rights activist who was the first elected official in the United States to openly discuss his use of PrEP, a preventative HIV treatment.
From 2013-17, new HIV diagnoses decreased 2% in the African-American community and increased by 4% in the Latinx community, while declining nearly 13% among white people. And, comparatively, in New York, since the implementation of a master plan to end new HIV infections in 2014, diagnoses are down 40%. California’s preventative work is falling dramatically behind other states, and it is time to take a more thorough approach to ending these epidemics, Wiener said.
SB 859 would require the Secretary of California Health and Human Services, in coordination with the Chief of the Office of AIDS, to create a comprehensive master plan to end new infections of HIV, HCV and other STDs. This bill mandates that the secretary and chief institute a Stakeholder Advisory Committee and work with relevant state agencies to set targets to end new infections and identify recommended programs, policies, strategies and funding for achieving these targets.
For information, visit sd11.senate.ca.gov.
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