HIV prevention medications pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) will both be made available through the Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC) via its sexual health service Clinic 30 in an effort to tackle rising HIV rates.
In a move also aimed at addressing the increasing demand for the one-a-day course of medication that prevents transmission of HIV, QuAC will assist those interested in undertaking PrEP with consultation, the importation process and follow-up GP monitoring.
[showads ad=MREC]“With growing demand for PrEP across Australia, Queensland AIDS Council will make the process of importing PrEP simple for people who choose to be on PrEP,” QuAC executive director Michael Scott said.
“Reducing barriers to access is a significant way to increase uptake of PrEP within Queensland, and will undoubtedly lead to a reduction in new notifications of HIV.
“Our doctors have the ability to write a script for PrEP importation, have the ability to provide three monthly sexual health checks, and have the ability to monitor adherence.”
Due to PrEP not yet receiving approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration, many who have decided to use the preventative strategy are required to import medications such as Truvada— a process Scott sees as possibly causing some confusion for some.
“The decision to go on PrEP is an individual decision to be made, and it can be full of complex questions,” Scott said.
“Our doctors will make the process as streamlined as possible, and will be there to answer questions that arise on PEP or PrEP.”
The first statewide PrEP trial involving 150 people being run by HIV Foundation Queensland in conjunction with Queensland Health, QPrEP, is currently underway in locations around Cairns, the Gold Coast, Ipswich, Sunshine Coast, Townsville and Brisbane.
While it welcomed any means to advocate for and raise awareness of PrEP, QuAC said the size of the trial was a “drop in the ocean” when considering the amount of people in Queensland interested in PrEP who do not have access to QPrEP, and estimated “several thousands” of people would benefit from the medication.
“PrEP is a game changer for HIV and HIV prevention. It gives gay men and other men who have sex with men the ability to take control of their own sexual health, and to add to the growing range of risk reduction tools available,” Scott said.
Alongside offering help with PEP and PrEP, QuAC’s 2 Spirits Indigenous program will seek to address growing rates of STIs amongst Queensland’s Indigenous community.
“It is incredibly worrying that rates of STIs remain high within Indigenous populations when compared with non-Indigenous populations, and we need peer based and culturally adept programs to close this gap,” Scott said.
For more information contact Michael Scott on 0427 138 373 or email [email protected][showads ad=FOOT]