Within 24 hours Australia is highly likely to be the next country to subsidize PrEP tomorrow. It will make it more affordable and accessible for people at risk of acquiring HIV.
Sources have told Gay Star News that Australian HIV organizations are feeling very confident PrEP will be given the green light to be subsidized on Friday (9 February).
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a HIV preventative drug which has proven to be highly effective at preventing the transmission of HIV.
It’s not currently subsidized as a HIV preventative drug in Australia. That means it can cost those who take PrEP about $10,00 (US$7,828) a year.
Many PrEP users have resorted to importing the PrEP drugs – Truvada or Mylan – from overseas.
But tomorrow the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) will hand down its decision as to whether PrEP can be added Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). The PBS provides ‘timely, reliable and affordable access to necessary medicines for Australians’.
Both Mylan and Truvada are under PBAC review. Those in the HIV sector are confident that at least one will get through.
Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt will reportedly move quickly to have PrEP added to the PBS. That would bring the cost of a prescription down to $39.95.
‘PrEP is a necessary and urgent tool’
HIV grassroots and peer organization The Institute of Many (TIM) said prepare ‘necessary and urgent tool’ to help end HIV.
‘We have already seen in some jurisdictions how PrEP, in combination with other prevention methods, testing strategies, and meaningful community engagement, has helped to reduce instances of HIV transmission,’ said TIM cofounder, Nic Holas.
‘For too long, people living with HIV have born the brunt of expectation, responsibility, and blame when it comes to keeping the community safe from HIV.
‘PrEP offers HIV negative people the opportunity to take more responsibility for their own safety.’
Holas said PrEP was important to end HIV, but was critical to use with other prevention methods, including promoting Treatment as Prevention (TaSP).
‘With PrEP available and more people aware of and embracing U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable), we hope this is the beginning of the end for new HIV transmissions in Australia, but we know this is not the end of HIV stigma and discrimination,’ he said.
Finally, PrEP has happened to Australia
Tomorrow’s likely positive decision has come after multiple attempts to get PrEP listed on the PBS.
It will come just days after New Zealand decided to subsidize PrEP.