DOUBLE Happiness is the new campaign to promote the Treatment as prevention (TasP) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in the fight against HIV.

The Victorian PrEP Accord launched the Double Happiness Campaign with Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy yesterday.

 The campaign uses Chinese symbolism for ‘double happiness’ to promote the union of the two complementary strategies working together: the use of anti-retroviral drugs for people living with HIV to reduce the HIV viral load to an ‘undetectable’ level (TasP), and the use of anti-retroviral drugs taken by HIV negative person to prevent HIV transmission (PrEP).

At present, the drug Truvada has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for PrEP use, however it has not yet been listed on Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

“I – along with all Australian health ministers – am committed to the goal of the virtual elimination of new HIV transmissions by 2020,” said Minister Hennessy.

Phillip Joffe chair of PrEPaccessNOW said while progress has been made in the reduction of new HIV transmission, it’s not enough.

“The quick access and availability of this drug (PrEP) is imperative to the health and wellbeing of Australians at risk for HIV.”

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The website for the campaign, TasPLovesPrEP.info, provides essential information about TasP and PrEP, but also contains information in multiple languages including; Chinese, Greek, Spanish and Vietnamese.

“Whether you are HIV negative or HIV positive, we want to educate everyone about both of these methods of HIV prevention and convey the message that everyone can play a role in ending new HIV transmissions,” said Brent Allan, CEO for Living Positive Victoria.

“We’re all in this together, HIV shouldn’t stand in the way of love.”

The Victorian PrEP Accord is a partnership between Living Positive Victoria and the Victorian AIDS Council (VAC), alongside grassroots PrEP organisations PrEPaccessNOW, Time4PrEP, PrEP’d for Change, and researchers from VicPrEP who are all committed to ensure the availability of PrEP for the Victorian community.

“Talking about PrEP and treatment as prevention together is a way to start making connections between men regardless of their HIV status, showing us how much we have in common,” said VAC CEO Simon Ruth.

“HIV affects all of us, and we are all responsible for HIV prevention. For most of us HIV will always be a part of how we negotiate and navigate sex, but increasing awareness of these biomedical preventions can make those experiences easier.

“The campaign is about engaging with HIV stigma as much as it’s about HIV prevention, and bringing together HIV-negative and HIV-positive people is the way to start making that happen.”

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