A SERIES of new PrEP forums across NSW will help inform people who want to know more about taking PrEP and dispel any myths or apprehensions they may have about the HIV prevention pill.

With the forums being held outside Sydney’s inner city areas, people can also register their interest if they are eligible and keen to get involved in a PrEP trial.

The NSW Government announced a massive extension to its current PrEP trial on World AIDS Day last year, which means 3700 people at risk of becoming HIV positive are now invited to take part in the trial.

Truvada — the drug which forms the PrEP treatment — has not yet been approved to be available in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administraton, but people may import it at a personal cost from overseas with a prescription from their doctor.

ACON partnerships and engagement coordinator Gavin Prendergast said signing up for the trial was a handy way to get PrEP for free for the next two years, as long as participants were currently HIV-negative and willing to stick to the requirements of taking their daily pill.

“They will need to visit the clinic they registered at, they go along for the original blood scan, they get their PrEP… and every three months they return for a full STI check. We have people complete a quick online survey,” he said.

“We are more than happy to take people who are currently importing (PrEP from overseas) and put them on the trial as long as they meet the criteria.”

Prendergast has been using PrEP himself for a year and only experienced vivid dreams in the first few days of taking Truvada, but the treatment has afforded other freedoms.

“It’s a minimal disruption to my life. It’s given me a sense of relief and feeling less scared about sex,” he said.

“I’m 45 so I’ve been around with HIV my whole sexually active life… HIV and AIDS was terrifying. But now I found I don’t have that panic or that terror of getting HIV anymore that I grew up with.

“It’s a refreshing change.”

ACON’S PrEP Forums (with more dates and locations to be confirmed):

When: Thursday 7 April, 6pm for a 6.30pm start
Where: City Diggers (upstairs), Cnr Church St & Burelli St, Wollongong
  Click here

When: Thursday 28 April, 6pm for a 6.30pm start
Where: Rafferty’s Theatre – Riverside, Church St, Parramatta
 Click here

For more information call 02 9206 2064  or email  [email protected]

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