California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, on Monday signed a bill into law that will make HIV prevention drugs available without a prescription.

The drugs are known as PrEP, pre-exposure prophylaxis, and PEP, post-exposure prophylaxis.

The bill, introduced by Senator Scott Wiener, an openly gay Democrat from San Francisco, and Assemblyman Todd Gloria from San Diego, allows pharmacists to dispense the drugs and bars insurance companies from requiring authorization before the drugs are provided.

Newsom, a vocal supporter of LGBT rights, said in a statement that the change could “literally save lives.”

“Recent breakthroughs in the prevention and treatment of HIV can literally save lives,” Newsom said. “All Californians deserve access to PrEP and PEP, two treatments that have transformed our fight against HIV and AIDS. I applaud the Legislature for taking action to expand access to these treatments and getting us close to ending HIV and AIDS for good.”

Wiener is a strong proponent of HIV prevention drugs. As a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2014, Wiener announced that he was on PrEP.

He said that the drugs are a key component in the fight to end new HIV infections.

However, other barriers to access remain, including the drug's high price. While a generic version of Truvada is expected to become available in 2020, Gilead Sciences, the maker of the drug, has already announced a new PrEP drug called Descovy. In clinical trials, Descovy had fewer side effects.