HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is the regular use of HIV medications by HIV-negative people to prevent HIV acquisition.
Taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective at stopping the transmission of HIV and allows people to be in control of their HIV status.
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.
PrEP has been approved by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for use by people who are HIV negative and at risk of acquiring HIV. 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. Any person with a current Medicare card can access subsidised medication through the PBS.
AFAO, in collaboration with ASHM, has produced a PrEP Fact Sheet (English) to assist PrEP users and people with an interest in using PrEP to understand what subsidised access to PrEP through the PBS means. The factsheet is also available in Plain English, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and Indonesian.
Previously, people eligible for PrEP in Australia had limited access options. These options included access through clinical trials in NSW and ACT; Victoria; Queensland; South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia, or through the Personal Importation Scheme.
ESTIMATING THE NUMBER OF PrEP USERS IN AUSTRALIA
In 2015, AFAO commissioned the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales to provide estimates of the number of people who would need to be on PrEP in Australia to realise PrEP’s potential to reduce HIV notifications. In response, the Kirby Institute provided a report that lays out estimates of eligibility for PrEP in gay men in Australia, following the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine (ASHM) Australian Commentary on Prescribing PrEP in Australia. The Report is comprised of three documents:
PrEP IS NOT PEP
- Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is the regular use of HIV medications by HIV-negative people to prevent HIV acquisition.
- Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is a 28 day course of HIV medication taken daily by individuals who are accidentally exposed to HIV. To be effective at preventing acquisition the medication must be taken with 72 hours of the episode of exposure.
PEP is available from hospital accident and emergency departments or HIV/sexual health physicians.
For more information visit www.getpep.info.