PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) What you need to know!
PrEP available on the PBS from 1st April 2018
The HIV prevention pill, PrEP, will be available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme from 1st April 2018, giving Australia its greatest opportunity yet to drive serious reductions in HIV transmission.
WHY DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PrEP?
Being educated about safe sex practices that fit into your lifestyle is the best way to equip yourself against HIV and STIs. Building up your ‘safe sex toolbox’ with prophylactic equipment like condoms and PrEP will assist you in making the best decisions for your health and wellbeing.
WHAT IS PrEP?
HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is the regular use of HIV medication by HIV negative people at higher risk of HIV to prevent infection. Clinical trials show that PrEP is highly effective at preventing HIV transmission.
Is PrEP AVAILABLE THROUGH AUSTRALIA’S HEALTHCARE SYSTEM?
Yes! PrEP has been subsidised by the Australian Government through the PBS from 1st April 2018.
IS PrEP AVAILABLE IN OTHER WAYS IN AUSTRALIA?
Yes. You can access PrEP through personal importation. This is an option for people who are ineligible for Medicare and unable to access PrEP through the PBS.
The cost of personal importation per month is around the same as for a general patient PBS co-payment (approx. $40 per month).
WILL MY DOCTOR BE ABLE TO PRESCRIBE PrEP THROUGH THE PBS?
Any doctor or general practitioner (GP) can prescribe PrEP through the PBS to an Australian resident who holds a current Medicare card.
State- and Territory-based AIDS Councils, People With HIV (PWHIV) organisations and other community organisations can assist you in finding inclusive and informed doctors who can discuss PrEP with you.
The Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) is preparing information resources to support the clinical workforce in the lead up to, and following, the listing date.
AM I ELIGIBLE FOR PrEP?
People who are at higher risk of HIV are eligible for 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 higher risk of HIV you should see your doctor or visit a sexual health clinic to assess your eligibility. ASHM, in consultation with AFAO and other HIV community organisations, has developed PrEP clinical guidelines.
These guidelines have been developed to assist doctors to make decisions about prescribing PrEP.
WILL LOCAL PHARMACIES BE ABLE TO DISPENSE PrEP?
Yes, all pharmacies will be able to dispense PrEP; however, some pharmacies may need to order the medication, which may take a few days.
WHAT IS THE PBS CO-PAYMENT?
Individuals with a current Medicare card and a valid script from their doctor who purchase PrEP at a pharmacy will have to pay a PBS copayment, as with all other medications on the PBS. Co-payments are financial contributions made by PBS eligible consumers towards the cost of dispensing medication.
The PBS classifies people into two categories for the purposes of co-payments: concessional patients or general patients. Concessional patients are individuals with a Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card. These people will pay a PBS co-payment of $6.40 for 30-days’ supply of PrEP. General patients will be charged $39.50 for 30-days’ supply.
HOW MUCH PrEP MEDICATION WILL BE PRESCRIBED AND SUPPLIED THROUGH THE PBS?
Doctors can prescribe up to three months’ supply of PrEP at a time through the PBS. This is one script with two repeats.
HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO VISIT MY DOCTOR FOR AN HIV AND STI TEST?
Individuals will need to see their doctor every three months to obtain another PrEP script. At this visit, your doctor will test you for HIV and other STIs.
WHAT IF I AM ENROLLED IN A PrEP ACCESS TRIAL?
At some point, participants enrolled in PrEP access trials will transition from receiving a trial script for PrEP to receiving a PBS script for PrEP. There should be very few changes when PrEP shifts
to the PBS: you will still need to see your doctor or nurse every 3 months for a script as well as HIV and STI tests. Participants in PrEP access trials will be provided with information on the timing of this transition from the trial. Depending on which trial you are in, and the planned length of that trial, arrangements may vary between States and Territories. State and Territory health departments are making every effort to ensure a smooth transition from access trials to the PBS. In the meantime, if you are currently accessing PrEP through a trial, or through personal importation, continue to access it as normal until further information becomes available.
Clinic 34 is a free community sexual health clinic, with staff available to discuss PrEP and other sexual health matters.
LGBTI Specialist Clinic at Northside Health NT run a 2 or 3 day clinic on a monthly basis to provide welcoming, high-quality health care to members of the LGBTI community.
- Transgender & gender diverse health
- Sexual health
- Mental health
- HIV care, S100, PrEP
- General health care
- Fertility & conception advice
- Non-judgemental expert GP care
Call 08 7999 7448 or email admin@northsidemedical for an appointment.
Both the NTAHC and the Clinic 34 and Northside Clinic firmly believe in your right to make your own decisions about your health, and our role is simply to ensure that you have all of the information to make those decisions.
The information contained in this webpage does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.
Call NTAHC to discuss with the Care and Support staff.
Darwin: 08 8944 7777
Alice Springs: 08 8953 3172