March 9, 2023

Bill to remove barriers to STI testing clears first House committee

A bill to eliminate copays, cost sharing and deductibles to remove barriers to sexually transmitted infection testing passed the House Health and Human Services Committee 7-3.

Bill cosponsor state Rep. Kristina Ortez, D-Taos, said that if SB 132 is enacted, it will help reduce the rising number of STIs in the state by removing barriers to testing. The STI Prevention and Treatment Act would enable individuals to be more likely to get tested and treated, which becomes a preventive measure since most STIs do not exhibit symptoms but can lead to later issues such as infertility. 

State Rep. Stefani Lord, R-Sandia Park, said she could not support the bill because it wasn’t fair to cancer patients, individuals with dementia and individuals living with AIDS. 

State Rep. Joanne Ferrary, D-Las Cruces, asked if the bill would enable School-Based Health Centers to offer STI testing and treatment. 

Expert witness Kayla Herring, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said the bill does not mandate that and that School-Based Health Centers are “handled at the individual school level.”

The bill heads next to the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee.