Queensland’s expanded PrEP trial has begun, providing free access to the HIV prevention medication to 2,000 people right around Queensland at risk of the virus.
PrEP, also known by its brand name Truvada, is a once-daily pill that has been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of HIV transmission in people at high risk.
In April, Queensland Health Minister Cameron Dick announced $6 million dollars in funding over four years for the QPrep’d Project, a collaboration between the Queensland AIDS Council, the University of Queensland, the Cairns Sexual Health Service and Queensland Health.
On Monday, QuAC’s Clinic 30 began appointments with the first patients to get them on PrEP. They said they expect 500 people to obtain PrEP through the clinic, and over 350 others are on their waitlist.
Twenty other sites all around the state will also become involved over the next three months. Those on PrEP through the trial will be tested every three months for HIV and other STIs.
For more information and to register your interest, visit the QPrep’d Project website.
“A significant amount of work has gone into the development and implementation of this project, and today we will see the results of this hard work,” QuAC Executive Director Michael Scott said.
“The Demonstration Project was only possible through collaboration between government, researchers, and the community sector.”
Meanwhile, the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) said listing PrEP on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme was an “urgent priority” after it was rejected in August.
“It is vital that PrEP is accessible through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). This is the only way we can ensure that PrEP is widely accessible and affordable right across the country,” AFAO Deputy CEO Heath Paynter said.
“Until PrEP is listed on the PBS access in Australia will remain inequitable, and many people who need it will miss out.”