Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)
PrEP is the use of antiretroviral drugs by HIV negative people to greatly reduce the risk of contracting HIV upon exposure. Unlike PEP, PrEP is taken before any potential exposure to HIV and is usually taken on an ongoing basis. Currently there are two ways to access PrEP: you can get a prescription from your doctor and either purchase the drug over the counter or import the drug into Australia by ordering online.
On 1st of April 2018, PrEP was made available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). This means people with a Medicare card who have a script from a doctor can buy PrEP from any Australian pharmacy at a subsidized cost. You will still need to pay a co-payment. If you do not have a Medicare Card, you can purchase PrEP online and import it from overseas for a cheaper price. However, you will still need to get a prescription from a doctor.
Unlike condoms, PrEP does not protect against other STIs or pregnancy so may be less applicable within a sex work context. If you are on PrEP, you should talk to your doctor about a regular HIV and STI testing schedule that is suitable to your specific needs. However, if you think or know you have been exposed to an STI, it is recommended you get an STI test in 7 days.
If you would like to know more about PrEP, including how best to access PrEP, contact your local sex worker organisation.
Additionally, refer to the HIV & AIDS page for more information.