Ensuring that adolescents and young adults at risk for HIV can access PrEP is a key step toward reducing new HIV infections among this population. A number of states have recently taken steps to update laws to permit minors (i.e., young people who have not reached the age of majority, which varies from state to state but is 18 years old in most states) to consent to PrEP without parental consent. Eliminating parental consent requirements removes a major barrier to PrEP access for young people at risk for HIV, who may not have disclosed their sexual orientation or risk behaviors to their parents and may fear the repercussions of disclosure.
Earlier this year, I wrote an issue brief for amfAR that discussed statutory and regulatory reforms that permitted minors to consent on their own to PrEP in Colorado and New York. This month, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into law HB 6540, which allows Connecticut health providers to prescribe PrEP without parental consent to minors who disclose that they are at risk of HIV exposure and request PrEP for protection. In May, the Illinois General Assembly passed HB 2665, a bill that aligns state with federal guidance on a minor’s ability to access preventive health care services, like PrEP, without parental consent. The bill is currently awaiting Governor J.B. Pritzker’s signature.
More states must consider options for improving PrEP access and supporting effective HIV prevention for adolescents and young adults. This must include addressing issues of consent and confidentiality that can be significant barriers to obtaining care. There is no time to waste.
The views reflected in this expert column are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent those of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law or Georgetown University. This blog is solely informational in nature, and not intended as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed and retained attorney in your state or country.