A pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) trial is slated to commence in Western Australia during the latter half of this year, allowing 2,000 people to access the HIV prevention pill.

The trial will be a partnership between the Health Department, the Kirby Institute, and the WA AIDS Council who will lead the project.

State Minister for Health John Day signed off on the trial, which will receive $1.3 million in funding to run over two years.

In a report by OUT in Perth, Chief Executive of the WA AIDS Council Andrew Burry said getting the trial approved had been a long time in the making.

“It’s become a cliché, but PrEP really is a game changer and this trial will allow us to get as many people as possible on to PrEP as quickly as possible,” he said.

“PrEP allows us to make a genuine difference in trying to end HIV and to stop any new infections.”
PrEP is taken in the form of Truvada, an antiretroviral drug used by HIV-negative people as part of HIV preventative medical treatment.

Evidence has shown that when taken consistently it is 96 to 98 per cent effective in preventing HIV infection.

Last year HIV advocates and health organisations were outraged when the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) rejected submissions to subsidise PrEP under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

Trials are already underway in Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland, allowing thousands of participants to access the ‘game-changing’ pill.

The Western Australian trial will focus on men who have sex with men, but won’t be limited to that group. The WA AIDS Council has said details on how people can register will be announced in due course.

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