This month,Prepped Smart and Healthy has reached a significant milestone with the program having now contributing over $1 million towards eliminating HIV in Australia by creating greater access to cost effective PrEP. The program aims to reduce the cost of medication down to a third of the usual cost.
“Prepped Smart and Healthy has made a huge difference to the financial barrier for thousands of people in Victoria and beyond.” Ruth says
“Plus, by embracing advances in the technology with sending and processing scripts from doctors, they’re now able to reach more people than ever before. It’s incredibly exciting as these types of solutions are what is going to bring us closer to seeing an end to HIV in Australia.”
With the support of Prepped Smart and Healthy general patients with a Medicare card can expect to pay $41 for a three-month supply of PrEP as opposed to $123. For Concession card holders the cost would be reduced from $19.80 to just $6.60.
“The purpose of Prepped Smart and Healthy is to make medications more affordable for those marginalised communities where the high cost may prevent access. By removing the barrier of financial burden, adherence is made easier and the risk of medication failure is lowered, enabling better health outcomes,” says Jospeh Tesoriero, founder of Prepped Smart and Healthy.
Since PrEP was made available in Australia in 2016, rates of new HIV infections have fallen by around 23 percent. Not only this, but the shift in attitude towards sex has been both immense and positive,Thorne Harbour HealthCEO Simon Ruth tells Star Observer.
“Since the introduction of PrEP and biomedical HIV prevention more broadly, we have seen a huge shift in the community’s understanding of how they can take control of their sexual health and prevent the onward transmission of HIV.
“For a vast number of (it’s not countless, since it could actually be counted) HIV negative people around the world, PrEP has changed how they have sex and, in many instances, removed a level of anxiety surrounding sex.
“We have also seen people come to understand and accept that Undetectable equals Untransmittable (U=U) and that people living with HIV with an undetectable viral load (UVL) are unable to transmit HIV to their sexual partners. In fact, research has proven UVL is the most effective way to prevent the onward transmission of HIV. That fact alone is taking a sledgehammer to decades of stigma experienced by people living with HIV.”
“We’re seeing organisations like Prepped Smart & Healthy and PrEP Access Now (PAN) help make PrEP accessible to more and more people across Australia. However, we also need to improve access for people who are medicare ineligible – new programs like the PrEPMe service at The Alfred is a step in the right direction in addressing that issue,” added Ruth.
“That being said, Victoria needs to expand its sexual health infrastructure beyond the one sexual health centre (avoid using ‘heavy caseload’ because it’s a term that is used for general practitioner clinics in Melbourne with a HIV level of HIV positive clients) based in Melbourne. That clinic is continuing to run at capacity and is only accessible to those who can get to Melbourne.”