What is EPIC-NSW?
EPIC-NSW stands for ‘Expanded PrEP Implementation in Communities in NSW’.
It is a study run by the Kirby Institute, in collaboration with a number of partners, which aims to assess the impact of the rapid expansion in access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) amongst those at high risk of acquiring HIV.
PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis and it’s an antiretroviral treatment taken by HIV negative people to prevent HIV infection and is extremely effective at preventing HIV transmission.
The trial will enrol 3,700 people at high risk of acquiring HIV – the vast majority of whom will be gay and bisexual men. EPIC-NSW is a criteria based access program – which means eligibility for the study will be determined on the basis of HIV risk criteria. The aim is to rapidly enrol eligible people and follow participants for two years on while they take PrEP.
Partners involved in the study include the Kirby Institute, UNSW (leading the study) the NSW Health, ACON, Positive Life NSW, the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine (Australia’s HIV professional organization for clinicians) a number of General Practitioners who specialise in HIV, private practices and NSW publicly funded sexual health clinics.
When does it start?
Enrolment into EPIC-NSW commenced in March 2016. The number of sites recruiting into the study will increase throughout March and April, across NSW. To view a list of the current enrolment sites for EPIC–NSW, visit epic-nswstudy.org.au/join-the-study
Why are the places limited and what are the criteria based on?
As of May 2016, Truvada is licensed for PrEP in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). While this is a key development for PrEP access in Australia, PrEP is not yet available at a subsidised price through Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). An application is underway for a PBS listing.
While PrEP will not be available to all who may want it through EPIC-NSW, it is believed that by targeting PrEP to those most at risk of HIV, the greatest reduction in HIV transmission can be achieved.
The number of places in the trial is based on established HIV risk criteria and the NSW PrEP guidelines and are described below:
Who is eligible for the EPIC-NSW Study?
The guidance in NSW for clinicians to prescribe daily PrEP is related to being at high risk of acquiring HIV. Therefore PrEP is recommended if the individual acknowledges: being likely to have multiple events of condomless anal intercourse, with or without sharing intravenous drug use (IDU), in the next 3 months (indicating sustained risk)
And having any of the following:
- Regular sexual partner of an HIV-infected man with whom condoms were not consistently used in the last 3 months (HIV positive partner is not on treatment and/or has detectable viral load);
- At least one episode of receptive condomless anal intercourse with any casual HIV-infected male partner or a male partner of unknown HIV status in the last 3 months;
- Rectal gonorrhoea, rectal chlamydia or infectious syphilis diagnosis during the last 3 months or at screening;
- Methamphetamine use in the last 3 months
If people think that they would benefit from PrEP, yet may not be eligible for EPIC-NSW, then they are encouraged to talk to a General Practitioner who specialises in HIV, or a publicly funded sexual health clinic, regarding their suitability and access options.
How can I find out more about EPIC–NSW?
We will be promoting information about EPIC–NSW on ACON’s websites, our Ending HIV Facebook page and via our Ending HIV news desk. Sign up by clicking the button on the top left corner.
In NSW you can now contact the PrEP Info Service, which provides further information for community members and health care professionals about Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. Call the service on 1800 451 624, open Monday to Friday 9am till 5:30pm.
For more information visit the EPIC-NSW Study website at epic-nswstudy.org.au.
Current EPIC-NSW Recruitment sites
Albury Sexual Health Service
596 Smollett Street, Albury, 2640
(02) 6058 1831
Bathurst Health Service, Specialist Clinics
363 Howick St, Bathurst 2795
(02) 6392 8600 or 1800-816-925
Clinic 16, Royal North Shore Community Health Centre
Level 5/2C Herbert St, St Leonards NSW 2065
(02) 9462 9500
Clinic 33, Port Macquarie Community Health Centre
Morton Street, Port Macquarie 2444
(02) 6588 2750
Coffs Harbour Sexual Health
345 Pacific Hwy, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450
(02) 6656 7865
Dubbo Sexual Health
203 Brisbane Street, Dubbo 2830
(02) 6841 2489
East Sydney Doctors
102 Burton St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
(02) 9332 2531
Holden Street Clinic
69 Holden St, Gosford NSW 2250
(02) 4320 2114
Level 3, 26 College St, Sydney NSW 2010
(02) 9331 7228
Illawara Sexual Health Service
Port Kembla Hospital, Fairfax Road Warrawong 2502
(02) 4276 2399
Kirketon Road Centre,
100 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
(02) 9360 2766
Lismore Sexual Health Service
4 Shepherd Ln, Lismore NSW 2480
(02) 6620 2980
Nepean and Blue Mountains Sexual Health and HIV Clinics
The Annexe Nepean Hosp. Somerset St, Kingswood NSW 2747
(02) 4734 2507
Newcastle Sexual Health Service – Pacific Clinic
Newcastle Sexual Health Service
Level 2, 670 Hunter Street, Newcastle 2300
(02) 4016 4536
Nowra Sexual Health Clinic
Shoal Haven District Hospital Shoal Haven Street Nowra 2451
(02) 4423 9353
Orange Sexual Health Clinic
Kite Street Community Health Centre
96 Kite Street, Orange 2800
(02) 6392 8600 or 1800-816-925
RPA Sexual Health
16 Marsden St, Camperdown NSW 2050
(02) 9515 1200
Short Street Centre
Sexual Health Clinic, St George Hospital Ground Floor – Prichard Wing
Short Street Kogarah 2217
(02) 9113 2742
St Vincent’s Hospital (IBAC Clinic)
Level 4 Xavier Building, 390 Victoria Street Darlinghurst
(02) 8382 3707
Sydney Sexual Health Centre
3, Nightingale Wing, Sydney Hospital, Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9843 3124
Taylor Square Private Clinic
393 Bourke St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9331 6151
Wagga Wagga Sexual Health Service (Online 11 August 2016)
79 Brooking Avenue, Wagga Wagga, 2650
(02) 6925 2973
Western Sydney Sexual Health Centre
162 Marsden St, Parramatta NSW 2150
(02) 9843 3124
What if I want to get PrEP now?
If you want to access PrEP now, you can find out how to go about that by using the information contained in the PrEP Access Options resource on our website – here or alternatively you could contact the NSW Sexual Health Information Line on 1800 451 624.