July 1 presents us with many new laws. Of those that are effective on July 1, the laws briefly described below, referencing sunscreen and access to HIV prevention drugs, impact the health and well-being of our school-aged children.
Sunscreen for school children
Students who are 6 and older will now be allowed to carry and apply sunscreen before outdoor activities at school — provided they have a written note from a parent or guardian. Prior law treated sunscreen the same as other over-the-counter medications, meaning it required a doctor’s note and had to be administered by the school nurse. “Use of sunscreen at a young age is a critical and necessary component of skin cancer prevention,” the SUNucate Coalition, which advocated in favor of the bill, wrote to legislators. Connecticut joins 22 other states that have similar laws, according to the group.
Youth access to HIV prevention drugs
Minors will no longer need parental consent to obtain HIV prevention medication, commonly referred to as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, and sold under the brand name Truvada. State law already allowed minors to be treated for HIV or AIDS without their parents being notified. Youth ages 13-24 account for 22 percent of all new HIV infections in the U.S., according to Rep. Raghib Allie-Brennan, one of the bill’s chief sponsors. If youth are required to receive parental consent to obtain PrEP “we are effectively requiring that they choose between their right to privacy and their right to medical treatment,” Rep. Jeff Currey, an East Hartford Democrat and another co-sponsor of the bill, wrote in testimony submitted to state legislators.