• Australia is within reach of achieving its pledge to end new HIV transmissions by 2020. (Getty Images / Marc Bruxelle)Source: Getty Images / Marc Bruxelle
“It is an embarrassment that we don’t have access to PrEP via the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in Australia.”
Michaela Morgan

18 Jan 2017 - 2:15 PM  UPDATED 18 Jan 2017 - 2:15 PM

The Victorian Aids Council (VAC) will donate a further $100,000 to a study that’s examining the expanded use of preventative HIV medication for people who are at high risk. 

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is the use of medication as a prevention method for HIV negative people. 

There’s currently a substantial waiting list for those wishing to access PrEP through the trial, and the funding means a further 600 Victorians will be able to join it. 

PrEP was knocked back for listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) in August 2016 and is not likely to be reconsidered until later this year.   

Comment: How PrEP changed my life
"The reality is that gay men don’t use condoms one hundred percent of the time. Breakages happen, people get drunk, and some simply prefer not to use them. Those are people we need to support, not shame," writes Brandon Cook.

The VAC is now urging the Federal Government to use discretionary funding under the Communicable Disease Prevention and Service Improvement Fund to support broader access to PrEP. 

VAC CEO - Simon Ruth - has called on the incoming Federal Health Minister to show a “genuine commitment to HIV-prevention”. 

“It is an embarrassment that we don’t have access to PrEP via the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in Australia, and it’s time the Federal Government looked at other options”. 

VAC President Chad Hughes congratulated the Victorian Government for establishing the trial and allowing thousands of Victorians to access PrEP. He’s stressed that the preventative method is vital for reducing new HIV transmissions. 

“The Federal Government has committed to ending HIV by 2020, and it can’t meet that commitment without PrEP,” said Hughes.

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