GAY men and men wh0 have sex with men will be able to find out more about a new method of HIV prevention at a special community forum in Sydney on Wednesday.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a combination of antiretroviral medicines that are used to treat HIV. Research has shown that if it is taken every day by an HIV-negative person, it is highly effective at preventing HIV transmission, with a risk reduction of at least 95 per cent.

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ACON will host a special community Q&A in Sydney on October 22 where a panel of experts will discuss the latest developments in relation to PrEP before taking questions from the floor.

The forum will explore aspects of PrEP like evidence for its effectiveness, adherence, costs and purchase of the drug from overseas, side effects and the place PrEP may have in HIV prevention in our community.

Panel members will include Professor Andrew Grulich, Associate Professor Kane Race and James Gray, one of ACON’s senior HIV and sexual health program managers.

ACON deputy chief executive Karen Price said PrEP was raising considerable interest among gay men and healthcare providers.

“PrEP is great news for some HIV-negative people who are at substantial risk of HIV infection, such as men with HIV-positive partners,” she said.

“It’s also great news for gay men generally, because while condoms remain the best protection against HIV transmission, having other methods of prevention available to gay men is vital to reducing transmission rates.

“In the US — the only country in the world so far where PrEP has been approved for use — there’s concern among some HIV and health advocates that PrEP will encourage gay men to stop using condoms, potentially leading to increased rates of HIV transmission,” Price continued.

“Here in Australia, PrEP is not approved for use. However, a PrEP trial will soon be running in NSW and ACON is keen to talk about it — to start a conversation and to clarify some myths and realities around PrEP.”

What: PrEP Community Fourm

When: Wednesday, October 22, 6pm for a 6.30pm start

Where: Colombian Hotel, Oxford St, Darlinghurst

RSVP: [email protected] | o2 9206 2064

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