7 May 2018
The Commonwealth Government recently approved the listing of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
From 1 April 2018 individuals at medium to high-risk of HIV can access PrEP through the PBS to help them reduce their risk of HIV. PrEP is listed as an s 85 General Schedule medication, and can be prescribed by any GP.
PrEP is the use of HIV medications to prevent the transmission of HIV. When taken daily, PrEP is up to 99 per cent effective in preventing HIV. Currently only one medication is approved for use as PrEP: tenofovir/emtricitabine. It has been used for many years to treat HIV in people living with HIV. In addition to condoms and undetectable viral load (when a person living with HIV is on treatment, and is virally suppressed, they cannot transmit the virus), PrEP gives people another option to help prevent HIV.
PrEP can be dispensed with a maximum quantity of 30, with two repeats. Patients must return for a new prescription every three months. GPs should provide a full sexual health checkup, including HIV test and screening for the sexually transmissible infections syphilis, gonorrhoea, and chlamydia.
The Victorian Government recently released its updated clinical guidance for PrEP which can be found on the Department of Health and Human Services website.
Further information about PrEP including full prescribing guidelines, including risk assessment criteria and patient information, can be found on the website for ASHM, the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, and Sexual Health Medicine, at ashm.org.au/hiv/prep
Chris Williams, Co-founder – PReP’d for Change, discusses PReP Awareness & HIV prevention – Watch now
Edwina Wright, Assoc. Prof, Alfred health/Burnet institute discusses the PReP HIV prevention tool – Watch now