Sen. Craig Hickman, D-Winthrop, looks at paperwork, Wednesday, March 10, 2021, at the Augusta Civic Center in Augusta, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Senate has approved a proposal designed to improve access to HIV prevention medications.

The proposal requires state-regulated health insurance providers to cover certain HIV prevention drugs with no out-of-pocket cost. The measure, introduced by Democratic Sen. Heather Sanborn, is designed to expand access to PrEP and PEP medications that help prevent HIV before exposure.

Democratic Sen. Craig Hickman, who supports the proposal, said the approval of the bill during Pride Month “is a kind of serendipity that made my heart swell and rain fall from my eyes.” He said he lost numerous friends during the AIDS crisis of the 1990s and has worked to help eradicate the disease since.

The proposal now heads to Democratic Gov. Janet Mills for potential signature. The Maine Senate passed it on Monday.