PrEP For HIV Prevention

A once a day pill that keeps you HIV negative

UPDATE: From April 1st 2018 PrEP has been listed on the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme). Changes to the way you can access PrEP in NSW can be found below under the ‘how can I access PrEP’ section.

If you are currently taking PrEP either through personal importation or the EPIC-NSW study it’s important to continue taking PrEP as usual and to speak to your healthcare provider before making any changes to your PrEP routine.

If you’re a guy who has sex with guys, you may have already heard about PrEP. Perhaps you already know a little about it and you’d like to know more, or perhaps you don’t know much about it at all.

Either way, the good news is that PrEP is an exciting biomedical development that is already playing a vital role in our efforts to end HIV by 2020.

What is PrEP?

PrEP is an acronym that stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. It involves HIV negative people taking antiretroviral drugs to protect them and prevent HIV infection – just one tablet a day.

Unlike post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which is taken after a potential exposure to HIV, PrEP is taken on an ongoing basis before potentially being exposed to HIV. Some would say it’s similar to ‘the pill’ that women take to prevent unplanned pregnancy.

Studies from around the world have shown that when PrEP is taken daily it is highly effective at preventing HIV.

  • PrEP allows guys to be in control of their HIV status. Control means more confidence all round
  • PrEP provides around-the-clock protection against HIV. When you take PrEP once a day you are always protected
  • PrEP relieves stress and anxiety that can be associated with sex. When you’re with that special guy, PrEP allows you to connect and be in the moment

Neg or poz, we all share responsibility for HIV prevention. With PrEP, neg guys have an additional tool they can use to proactively be in control of their HIV status. When PrEP is in the equation, poz guys can be confident that their partners are well protected.

Who is PrEP for?

PrEP is recommended for people who are at high risk of getting HIV. You are at high risk if you:

  • Are a man (cis or trans) who has anal sex with other men and does not always use a condom
  • Have a heterosexual partner who has HIV and you want to have a baby
  • Have a partner who is HIV positive but has not achieved an undetectable viral load, and you don’t always use a condom

How can I access PrEP?

From April 1st 2018 you can access PrEP through your local doctor (GP). You will be able to get a script from your GP or local sexual health clinic for PrEP, though you may have to pay for your doctors visit (if not bulk billed). Once you have your script you can take it to your local pharmacy to be dispensed (filled) at a subsidised price.

You must be HIV negative and an HIV test should always be performed before you start taking PrEP.  Find a test site in NSW here, alternatively if you are in Sydney you can also book a HIV test at a[TEST] here.

While PrEP is effective in protecting you from HIV, PrEP does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Anyone taking PrEP should test at least four times a year for STIs and consider even more STI check-ups if they are having a lot of sex without condoms. A full screen should include chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis.

If you are currently accessing PrEP through the EPIC-NSW study  or through personal importation you should continue taking PrEP as usual and speak to your healthcare provider before making any changes to your PrEP routine.

HOW MUCH WILL PREP COST THROUGH THE PBS?

Anyone with a Medicare card and a script from their GP will have to make a PBS co-payment at the pharmacy when collecting their PrEP, which is the same for all other medications accessed via the PBS. For general patients, the cost will be a maximum of $39.50 per script, while for Concessional patients (Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card owners) the cost will be $6.40 per script.

Know the Facts

How well does PrEP protect me from getting HIV? Does it have side effects or long-term effects? Do I have to take it forever? You may have lots of questions about PrEP, these factsheets in the following languages below answer some of the most common ones asked:

If you would like to speak to someone in your own language, call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450 to ask for an interpreter and then ask them to call the NSW Sexual Health Infolink on 1800 451 624.

What if I want to import PrEP myself?

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.