The Victorian government has announced it will fund an extension to the PrEPX trial until HIV prevention pill PrEP becomes available under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

Last week the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee recommended that PrEP be subsidised by the federal government.

To ensure people participating in the trial can have uninterrupted access to PrEP, the state government will provide a further $400,000 to extend the existing PrEPX study by an extra three months to June 30.

The landmark study has helped more than 4000 Victorians access the ground-breaking HIV prevention pill.

The second largest of its kind in Australia, the study is a partnership between the Victorian AIDS Council and Alfred Health.

The additional funding will allow Victorians in the study to transition to accessing PrEP through their regular GP.

“Finally, Australians can be protected by the inclusion of PrEP in the PBS—it’s long overdue,” said Victorian Minister for Health Jill Hennessy.

“Improving access to affordability of care is the first step towards eliminating transmission.”

Resources are currently being developed for doctors and nurses to help them easily provide PrEP to their patients as soon as it becomes available on the PBS.

PrEP has been demonstrated to be one of the most effective HIV prevention tools available, reducing the risk of HIV transmission by up to 99 per cent when taken daily.

Together with condoms, frequent and regular sexual health screening, and effective treatments for people living with HIV, the community has more tools than ever to prevent HIV.

“[The PBS] decision will have a tremendous effect on at-risk Victorians and Australians, and will fundamentally improve our HIV prevention response,” said Hennessy.

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