Western Australia is set to introduce a trial of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent new transmissions of HIV in the state.

PrEP is a daily antiviral medication taken by at-risk HIV-negative people to prevent transmission.

The new trial will run out of four sites in Western Australia: Royal Perth and Fremantle hospitals, M Clinic and GP on Beaufort, WA Today has reported.

The trial will give 2000 people in the state access to PrEP at a cost of $1.3 million over two years.

A similar trial in New South Wales saw new HIV infection rates drop by 96 per cent to the lowest levels since the 1980s.

Western Australia Health Minister Roger Cook called PrEP a potential “game changer” for the state.

“If we can drive down new HIV infection rates, the savings to our community in the long term are going to be significant in dollar terms for the health system and also issues associated with having a family member with HIV and the anguish, concern and anxiety that goes with that,” Cook said.

Earlier this year, the WA AIDS Council said it was “thrilled” at the announcement of funding for the trial.

PrEP is also under consideration to be added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which would substantially decrease its cost to people who are not enrolled in a trial.

People in Western Australia who would like to access the trial or get more information can contact the WA AIDS Council.

The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations has more information on PrEP and how people in different states can access it.

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