SACRAMENTO–In an essential next step in the fight against AIDS, the state Legislature passed legislation by Assemblymember Paul Krekorian (D-Burbank) on Tuesday that will require health insurers to cover routine HIV screening. Assembly Bill 1894 passed out of the Assembly after concurrence in Senate amendmen’s on a bipartisan vote of 47-29, leaving the bill needing only the Governor’s signature to become law.
According to the California Office of AIDS, approximately 40,000 persons in California who are infected with HIV are unaware of having the disease. The lack of routine HIV testing results in a lack of treatment to tens of thousands of people who need it, and puts many more people at risk of infection.
Just two weeks ago, at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City, the Centers for Disease Control reported that only 40 percent of the population had ever received an HIV test, and that at least a quarter of a million people in the U.S. are living with the virus unaware of their positive status.
At a time when it is estimated that over 56,000 Americans will be infected this year and nearly 1.1 million people are already living with the virus, AB 1894 keeps California in the forefront in the global fight against the AIDS epidemic.
On garnering the support of a majority of his colleagues and passing the bill out of the Legislature, Assemblymember Krekorian proudly proclaimed, “this important bill will create an environment in which testing will be routine and more Californians will know their status, get linked to care and have a better quality of life. Encouraging testing will decrease the risks of transmission, and therefore save lives.”
AB 1894 is sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and is supported by the Center for AIDS Research, Education, and Services (CARES), the California Nurses Association, and the California Medical Association.
Assemblymember Paul Krekorian represents the cities of Burbank and Glendale, and the Los Angeles communities of Atwater Village, Los Feliz, North Hollywood, Silver Lake, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Valley Village and Van Nuys.