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 taken on an ongoing basis. Currently there are three 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; or you can seek enrolment in one of the PrEP trials.

On 21 March 2018, the Federal Minister for Health announced that PrEP will be subsidised by the Australian Government through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from 1 April 2018.  For people who are ineligible for Medicare and unable to access PrEP through the PBS there are options for personal importation (see . The cost of personal importation per month is around the same as for a general patient PBS co-payment (approx. $40 per month).

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 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.