EPIC-NSW PrEP Trial
UPDATE: Enrolment to the EPIC-NSW study has now closed. Find out how else you can access PrEP below and on our PrEP page here.
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 was criteria-based and successful participants are administered PrEP and monitored during the course of the program.
In May 2016, Truvada was licensed for PrEP in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and from April 1st 2018, PrEP was listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), subsidising the cost of PrEP and broadening access across Australia. These changes mean that all Australians with a Medicare card, who are eligible for PrEP can receive a script from any Australian doctor or general practitioner to collect from a pharmacy at a subsidised cost.
As such, recruitment into the EPIC-NSW study has ceased enrolling new participants from May 1st 2018.
I am already on EPIC-NSW, what does the PBS listing mean for me?
Depending on the date you commenced in the study will determine your finish date.
- If you enrolled before March 1st 2017 you are guaranteed free study PrEP for two years
- If you enrolled after March 1st 2017 you will be given your last three months supply of free study PrEP at your next study visit
Your PrEP prescriber will go through this information and discuss transitional arrangements with you during your next appointment. At your final appointment, all EPIC-NSW participants will receive three months’ supply of free study PrEP. It is important that you make any necessary arrangements early to ensure you have continued supply of PrEP.
If you are going to be collecting your PrEP from a new or different pharmacy, you may also need to check with them in advance to ensure they have PrEP available when you need it.
How else can I access PrEP?
Australian Healthcare System
If you are an Australian resident with a current Medicare card you can access PrEP through the PBS at a subsidised cost. This means any doctor or general practitioner can write a script for PrEP which you can take to any pharmacy for dispensing (collection).
The cost will depend on your personal circumstances. A script for one month’s supply of PrEP will cost $39.50 ($118.50 for three months) or $6.40 ($19.20 for three months) if you have a concession card.
If you are not able to access PrEP through Medicare, another option is to purchase a generic version of the drug from a reliable overseas supplier. You still require a script from a doctor before ordering online. There are multiple suppliers who export PrEP into Australia at a range of costs. Visit the ‘PrEP Access Now’ website for more information.
How can I find out more?
For more information about the EPIC-NSW study visit epic-nswstudy.org.au.
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), 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.