THE Victorian AIDS Council will host a community forum on May 1 on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, also known as PrEP.

A new HIV prevention strategy, PrEP is the use of a single tablet taken daily by HIV-negative people to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV when combined with other prevention measures such as condom use and regular HIV and STI testing.

PrEP is different to post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), where treatment is commenced within 72 hours after exposure to HIV and continued for 28 days after the date of exposure.

Research has shown that men who have sex with men who take their PrEP tablets daily and use other prevention measures reduce their risk of HIV transmission by 99 per cent.

While PrEP is not yet approved for use in Australia, consistent condom use remains the first line defence against HIV acquisition.

PrEP will be available soon to people who participate in a medical trial being jointly conducted by the Alfred Hospital, the Centre for Social Research in Health and the Burnet Institute with support from community organisations like the VAC.

People will be able to access PrEP from Northside Clinic, Melbourne Sexual Health Clinic, Prahran Market Clinic and the Centre Clinic in Fitzroy St, St Kilda.

The VicPrEP demonstration is a demonstration project investigating the adherence, behavioural change, acceptability, safety, and feasibility of the use of HIV PrEP in the Victorian community.

The project will recruit 100 men to commence on PrEP and a further 100 who decline PrEP. Participants will also complete study evaluations including clinical status, HIV and STI testing, and an online survey regarding behaviour and sexual practices.

The community forum will be held at the offices of Russell Kennedy Solicitors, Level 12, 469 Latrobe St, Melbourne, on May 1 between 6–8pm. Dinner and drinks provided.

Places are limited. Attendance is strictly by RSVP: enquiries@vicaids.asn.au

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