• Truvada is a daily antiretroviral pill found to help protect healthy people from HIV transmission. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
A new study has deemed the HIV prevention pill "as safe as aspirin" as MPs call for greater access in Australia.
Drew Sheldrick

12 Jan 2016 - 4:01 PM  UPDATED 12 Jan 2016 - 4:01 PM

The Greens have renewed calls for the federal government to make the HIV prevention pill more accessible in Australia just days after a new study concluded the treatment is "as safe as aspirin".

Greens sexuality spokesperson Senator Robert Simms today called for the government to act following reports of an 85 per cent increase in sales of Truvada, the daily HIV prevention pill commonly referred to as pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, in Australia from overseas suppliers.

PrEP prevalent among US Grindr users: Survey
A survey of US users of the gay dating app Grindr showed 25 per cent of respondents already taking the HIV prevention pill, PrEP.

“It clear that Australians want access to this effective medication and are purchasing it at huge expense online," he said in a statement.

"It is really unfair that people are expected to pay more than $700 a year to order medication that is available in countries like the United States and France. Without a medical certificate, the cost skyrockets to more than $800 a month.

“Australians have a right to access this effective HIV prevention tool and the Turnbull Government should be doing all that it can to make PrEP available in Australia – including expanding trials in all states and territories.”

A study published by the Oxford Journals' Open Forum Infectious Diseases last week concluded that PrEP favourably compares to aspirin in terms of user safety. The University of California research compared five major studies on PrEP for HIV infection and two major studies on aspirin safety.

Push for PrEP intensifies on World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day has seen demands for greater availability of the HIV prevention pill and a series of announcements from state governments helping to facilitate "off-label" access.

In December last year, New South Wales health minister Jillian Skinner announced a landmark clinical trial, led by researchers from the Kirby Institute at UNSW, that will see 3700 high-risk, mostly gay and bisexual men enrolled through the state-wide network of public sexual health clinics and selected GP practices.

The Victorian government has also announced plans to develop new guidelines providing information and clinical guidance to doctors to inform discussions with patients requesting PrEP.

The World Health Organisation recommends that people at substantial risk of HIV infection should be offered PrEP as an additional prevention choice, as part of comprehensive prevention.