Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the pill that prevents HIV, is about to be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
The $180 million subsidy will dramatically reduce the cost of the medication, known by the brand name Truvada.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced today that PrEP will be listed on the scheme from April 1.
The $180 million listing means up to 32,000 patients each year will pay a maximum of only $39.50 per script, with concessional patients paying just $6.40.
Without subsidy patients would pay $2,496 per year for this medicine.
HIV experts initially raised concerns that doctors may not have the capacity for prescribing PrEP once it becomes available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
PrEP has until now been available to people at risk of HIV in some states through clinical trials, or by importing the expensive drug privately.
The medication is at least 99 per cent effective in preventing transmission of HIV when taken daily by HIV-negative people.
“For too long, people living with HIV have borne the brunt of expectation, responsibility, and blame when it comes to keeping the community safe from HIV,” said Nic Holas of HIV group The Institute of Many.
“PrEP offers HIV-negative people the opportunity to take more responsibility for their own safety.
“We hope this is the beginning of the end for new HIV transmissions in Australia, but we also know this is not the end of HIV stigma and discrimination.”