The Greens have committed to providing funding for better access to the HIV prevention pill (known as pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP) for high-risk groups in Australia.
“Without Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme listing, many potential users of PrEP will not be able to afford to take the medication," Greens leader Richard Senator Di Natale said Thursday.
"We have strongly advocated for the introduction of PrEP into Australia and we will continue to fight for this critical medication to be funded.”
Di Natale said the Greens would provide $8.7 million in funding for the supply of PrEP to high-risk Australians not currently in clinical trials, as well as an additional $25.7 million as a safety net for high-risk users to continue the drug after clinical trials finish.
Earlier this month, the Therapeutic Goods Administration approved the drug Truvada for use as PrEP in Australia. The drug had previously been prescribed "off-label" by doctors for the purposes of HIV prevention.
The once-a-day pill is an antiretroviral treatment taken by HIV negative people at high risk of acquiring HIV to prevent infection. Studies have shown that PrEP is extremely effective at preventing HIV transmission, with recent demonstration projects in Australia also showing strong results.
“This drug will provide people with protection and peace of mind, and has achieved positive results overseas," Greens sexuality spokesperson Senator Robert Simms said.
"The Australian Greens will secure their access to this medication and we will do so by committing a total of $34.4 million to provide continued access for high-risk groups irrespective of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme approval.”