New Zealand is one step closer to having access to affordable PrEP for people at high risk of acquiring HIV.
Earlier today the country’s government agency that decides which pharmaceuticals to publicly fund, PHARMAC, announced it wants to fund PrEP as a HIV-preventative drug.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a highly effect HIV preventative treatment. It is currently available as a HIV treatment in New Zealand. But to access it as PrEP is very expensive.
The New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF) urged PHARMAC to publicly fund PrEP earlier this year. More than 2,400 people signed NZAF’s petition to convince PHARMAC.
New Zealand experienced its highest rate of new diagnoses in 2016, but PHARMAC’s decision to fund PrEP could help bring that number down. It would also be one of the few countries in the world where PrEP is publicly funded.
PHARMAC funding would maximise the potential benefit of PrEP in New Zealand,’ said Jason Myers, executive director, NZAF.
‘Making this tool publicly available would be a giant leap forward towards our ambitious goal of ending new HIV transmissions in New Zealand by 2025.’
Once publicly funded, PrEP would be available to people at high risk of HIV. That includes; men who have sex with men, trans people, people whose partner has HIV, a recent diagnosis of another STI, and infrequent condom use.
If the funding goes ahead PrEP will be available in pharmacies to those with a valid prescription from their doctor.
NZAF estimated that PrEP would be available for NZD$5 (US$3.40) per 90 pills, which is three month’s supply.
The public is urged to voice their approval of publicly funding PrEP by making a submission to PHARMAC.
Written submissions can be emailed to Lindsay Ancelet, Therapeutic Group Manager PHARMAC at [email protected] by Tuesday 5 December 2017.
If approved, PrEP will be available on public funding from March 18.