EPIC-NSW stands for ‘Expanded PrEP Implementation in Communities in NSW’ that aims to assess the impact of the rapid expansion in access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) amongst those at high risk of acquiring HIV. The study is run by the Kirby Institute in collaboration with a number of partners and commenced in March 2016.
Enrolment is criteria-based and successful participants are administered PrEP for two years and monitored during the course or the program.
As of May 2016, Truvada was 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.
Who is Eligible?
The guidance in NSW for clinicians to prescribe daily PrEP is related to individuals 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 in the next three months (indicating sustained risk), with or without sharing intravenous drug use (IDU) and having any of the following:
- Regular condomless sex in the last three months with a HIV positive partner, whereby they are not on treatment and/or has a 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 three months;
- Rectal gonorrhoea, rectal chlamydia or infectious syphilis diagnosis during the last three months or at screening;
- Methamphetamine use in the last three months
If someone thinks 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.
How can I find out more?
In NSW, you can contact the PrEP Info Service on 1800 451 624, open Monday to Friday 9am till 5:30pm for more information about PrEP. The PrEP Info Service provides further information for community members and healthcare professionals.
Partners involved in the EPIC-NSW study include the Kirby Institute, UNSW (leading the study) the NSW Health, ACON, Positive Life NSW, the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM), a number of general practitioners who specialise in HIV, private practices and NSW publicly-funded sexual health clinics.
For more information about PrEP, the EPIC-NSW PrEP factsheet is available in the following languages:
- Arabic (2mb)
- Chinese (Simplified) (1mb)
- Chinese (Traditional) (2mb)
- English (1mb)
- Indonesian (1mb)
- Portuguese (1mb)
- Spanish (2mb)
- Thai (2mb)
- Vietnamese (2mb)
To view a list of the current enrolment sites for EPIC–NSW, visit epic-nswstudy.org.au/join-the-study
OK, how do I join?
If you think PrEP is for you and would like to join EPIC-NSW, a good first step is to contact the PrEP Info Service on 1800 451 624 for more details and to find a clinic that is enrolling near you. You can also contact ACON on 02 9206 2000 for further information.
What if I want to get PrEP now?
If you want to access PrEP now, you can find out more by using the information contained in our PrEP Access Options resource or alternatively you could contact the NSW Sexual Health Infolink on 1800 451 624.