PrEP subsidies to begin in April as Truvada lands on the PBS

Game-changing HIV prevention medication known as PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) will be subsidised as of April 2018 following an announcement from the federal government today.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt revealed today that PrEP (branded as Truvada) will become part of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from the first of April, with a $180 million subsidy that will allow up to 32,000 patients will pay no more than $39.50 to fill their prescription.

Western Australian Senator Dean Smith, who chairs the Parliamentary Liaison Group for HIV/AIDS, says he is excited to be part of today’s historic announcement in the fight to reduce HIV transmission in Australia.

“PrEP is just one element of a comprehensive approach to sexual health and $1.2 million will be provided for education and awareness activities,” Senator Smith said.

“Access to PrEP will not only benefit gay and bisexual men but will also drive down rates of HIV in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, migrant communities and other population groups which have seen increased transmission rates over recent years.”

PrEP was already available in Western Australia through select clinics and self-importation, and more recently through a state trial launched by the former Barnett government.

HIV advocacy group The Insitute of Many co-chair Nic Holas says this ease of PrEP accessibility is just the beginning.

“For too long, people living with HIV have borne the brunt of expectation, responsibility, and blame when it comes to keeping the community safe from HIV,” Holas told Star Observer.

“PrEP offers HIV-negative people the opportunity to take more responsibility for their own safety. We hope this is the beginning of the end for new HIV transmissions in Australia, but we also know this is not the end of HIV stigma and discrimination.”


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