HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is the regular use of HIV medications by HIV-negative people to prevent HIV acquisition. People at high risk of HIV are eligible for PrEP. In Australia, some sexually active gay and bisexual men, transgender people and heterosexual people with an HIV positive partner who does not have an undetectable viral load are population groups that are at high risk. Research shows that the medication used for PrEP is highly effective at preventing HIV transmission among these population groups.
On 21 March 2018, the Federal Minister for Health announced that PrEP will be subsidised by the Australian Government through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from 1 April 2018. For more information about what this means please see the AFAO PrEP Factsheet.
PrEP has the potential to significantly impact Australia’s response to the HIV epidemic. It is an important new option in the suite of HIV prevention strategies and, alongside treatment as prevention, will support Australia to meet its target of ending HIV transmission.
Currently Truvada is the only recognised PrEP treatment, but research into other antiretroviral treatments is underway. Find out more about PrEP by visiting the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) website.
How can I get PrEP?
PrEP is available in Australia with a prescription. That prescription needs to come from a General Practitioner (GP) after a full sexual health screening. The screening will be repeated with every visit to check not only for HIV, but also any other sexually transmissible infections (STIs). AIDS Action Council is proud to partner with Green Cross Pharmacy to improve access to PrEP for members of our community who may not have access to Medicare or PBS funded PrEP. You may be eligible to receive 3 months of PrEP free. Click here to find out more.
If you do not have access to medicare or pbs funded pREP
Personally importing PrEP is still an option. Click here to find out more via ASHM and AFAO. Prep can be purchased and imported via online pharmacies with a prescription. Canberra Sexual Health Centre can provide information on self-importation, prescriptions, and assist you to monitor your health while on PrEP along with regular sexual health check-ups. If you're not sure whether you can afford to self-import PrEP please call our office on 02 6257 2855 during business hours - you may be eligible for a PrEP coupon through the Green Cross Pharmacy partnership.
Should I use PrEP?
In Australia, sexually active gay and bisexual men, transgender people and heterosexual people with an HIV positive partner who does not have an undetectable viral load are population groups that are at higher risk. if you are not using PrEP and you think you are at high risk of HIV you should see your doctor or visit a sexual health clinic to assess whether PrEP will be of benefit to you. ASHM (Australian Sexual Health Medicine) and AFAO (Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations) have developed PrEP clinical guidelines to assist doctors to make decisions about prescribing PrEP.
Do I need to use condoms when on PrEP?
Condoms protect against more than HIV, providing users with safety from a number of other STIs. You should have an honest, open discussion with your sexual partner/s about sexual health, taking care of yourself and taking care of eachother, and make a decision about protection you are both comfortable with. Regular sexual health testing is a great idea for anyone who is sexually active. To find out more about access to sexual health testing in the ACT, click here.
If you would like to discuss if PrEP is for you, contact us on 02 6257 2855 or Canberra Sexual Health Centre on 02 6244 2184.