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PrEP will be subsidized for all people in Australia from 1 April

PrEP will be subsidized for all people in Australia from 1 April

Hand in medical glove holding blue truvada bill between thumb and pointer finger

Access to PrEP will finally become easier and cheaper in Australia as the government announces it will subsidize the medication.

PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a daily dose of medication that has proven to be 99% effective in preventing HIV.

Today Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt, announced it would be available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from 1 April. The PBS provides a list of subsidized medicines to Australians, so they are more affordable.

That means the cost of the treatment will become much more affordable for those wanting to take it.

Until now the cost of PrEP in Australia was prohibitively expensive forcing people to either import it from overseas or join one of many state-based medical trials.

Major advance on ending HIV

‘Having PrEP available at an affordable price through the PBS is a huge advance,’ said Darryl O’Donnell, chief executive of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO).

‘This will drive a substantial reduction in transmission and allow us to turbo-charge the Australian HIV response.’

People at high risk of HIV will be able to get a three month prescription for PrEP. They will also get a sexual health check when they visit their GP for their prescription.

PrEP will cost AU$39.50 (US$30) monthly on the PBS.

‘PrEP is an essential piece of the puzzle, but to drive HIV to very low levels, we will need co-ordinated leadership and additional resources for the Australian HIV response,’ O’Donnell said.

‘Investment in HIV prevention makes excellent financial sense. Each averted HIV transmission saves the Australian taxpayer $1,000,000 in lifetime costs.’

It was added to the PBS after the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommended it for listing on the PBS in February.