You are here

PrEP on hold

A decision to subsidise PrEP has been deferred, much to the disappointment of HIV advocates. “Given PrEP is so effective at preventing HIV transmission, people will be disappointed and deeply frustrated at this outcome,” said Darryl O’Donell, CEO of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO).

Drug companies Mylan and Gilead Sciences both brought applications for PrEP before the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) which has decided to hold off on a decision while it seeks further information on the number of people likely to use PrEP and conducts price negotiations.

Approximately 31,000 Australian gay and bisexual men are at high risk of HIV and would benefit from PrEP’s listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). AFAO, along with other HIV organisations, recommends that the two drug companies and PBAC fast-track negotiations as a matter of urgency. “HIV will be needlessly transmitted while we wait for equitable and affordable access to PrEP,” said O’Donnell.

Robert Mitchell, Vice-President of the National Association of People with HIV Australia, also strongly endorses urgent discussions to ensure PrEP is listed on the PBS as soon as possible. “PrEP keeps people at high risk of HIV safe and gives people control and confidence,” he said. “This helps everyone take responsibility for HIV prevention.”

Extremely effective at protecting against HIV, PrEP — pre-exposure prophylaxis — has shown to be a valuable tool in the arsenal to end new transmissions. Indeed, the UK PROUD study has shown that for every 13 people on PrEP, one HIV transmission is avoided. “Australia’s HIV rate has stubbornly plateaued at around 1,100 new infections per year for the past five years,” said O’Donnell. “With PrEP at the centre of a revived response, we would make serious inroads in ending HIV transmission. Without access to PrEP, Australia will not achieve its target of ending HIV transmission by 2020.”

latest news

August 22, 2017
A decision to subsidise PrEP has been deferred, much to the disappointment and frustration of HIV advocates.
July 26, 2017
Results from an Australian study show that HIV-positive men on treatment cannot transmit the virus.
June 22, 2017
Why is an easily curable disease once believed to be on the wane in Australia out of control?
June 6, 2017
Real-life exchanges between people on Grindr are at the centre of a new campaign spotlighting HIV stigma.
June 5, 2017
This year marks the 30th anniversary of ACT UP and many of today’s survivors were yesterday’s activists.
June 5, 2017
Here, a group of long-term survivors shed light on on the dark days of the AIDS epidemic. 
June 5, 2017
Using gene-editing technology, scientists successfully eliminate HIV in live animals. 
June 5, 2017
A grassroots organisation is calling for Australia's blood donation rules to be relaxed.
June 5, 2017
HIV enters the brain within the early stages of infection — just a matter of a few weeks. 
June 5, 2017
David Menadue rifles through the PL archives to look back at the watershed year of 1996.
June 5, 2017
Long-term survivors of HIV find themselves on a new and unexpected battlefront: ageing with HIV. 
May 1, 2017
Flu season is here, and people — especially those with impaired immunity — are advised to get vaccinated.
April 19, 2017
Researchers are collating stories of family life in the context of HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
March 29, 2017
Tez Anderson warns of a multi-pronged crisis affecting the health and wellbeing of older adults with HIV.
March 7, 2017
“For me, being told that I couldn’t have children was harder than the diagnosis itself."