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Fitness and body

How to get PrEP in Canberra and the Australian Capital Territory

Based in Canberra or the Australian Capital Territory and want to know how to get PrEP? Here’s everything you need to know about finding a GP, joining a study, buying online and seeking financial support.

Want to know how using PrEP can maximise your protection against HIV? Check out our introduction article to discover more and start a conversation with your GP or sexual health clinic.

Joining a study

In the Australian Capital Territory the most affordable and convenient way to access PrEP is through a clinical study. The EPIC-NSW Study expanded into the ACT in September 2017 and has commenced enrolment.

You can contact a participating clinic directly to enquire about eligibility criteria and joining the study.

The study is free to all participants. You can collect your PrEP at your chosen clinic.

The EPIC-NSW study is not evaluating if PrEP works as a medicine. We already know it is a highly effective HIV prevention strategy and it has approved for use by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Instead, the study is investigating the impact PrEP will have on reducing the number of HIV transmissions in the Australian Capital Territory in a real world setting.

Even if you are unable to join the study you can still access PrEP by buying from an online pharmacy with a prescription from a GP.

Finding a GP

There are several GP’s across the Australian Capital Territory prescribing PrEP. Although PrEP can be prescribed by any GP, some might not know about it. Community groups such as PrEP’D For Change and PAN (PrEPaccessNOW) provide interactive maps for you to locate a prescriber near you.

Personal Import

If you’re not part of the Australian Capital Territory’s PrEP study, you can still personally import it from an online pharmacy. You will still need to see a GP for sexual health tests and to obtain a prescription which you will need for ordering PrEP online. There is also a need to undertake regular testing if you are using PrEP.

The Australian Government’s Personal Import Scheme allows you to import PrEP for personal use with a valid prescription.

Ending HIV also provides information about this in a PrEP access options fact sheet.

Buying online

PrEP is not yet listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) – the list of federal government subsidised medicines. While it is possible to fill a prescription in some Australian pharmacies, this may cost upwards from $680 for one month’s supply.

Buying PrEP from an online pharmacy is a more affordable alternative. Prices start from around $35 for one months’ supply, including delivery.

PrEP sold online may come in different names, including Truvada, Ricovir-EM, Adco-Emtevir or Tenvir-EM. All of these medicines contain the same active ingredients. You can check they contain Emtricitabine 200mg and Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate 300mg to make sure you’re buying the right one.

It’s important to note medicines available on international websites are not regulated by the TGA. Community groups PrEP’D For Change and PAN (PrEPaccessNOW) suggest the following pharmacies:

Prices may vary between online pharmacies. PrEP’D For Change publishes a monthly price comparison chart online.

Financial support

If you are experiencing financial hardship and are unable to afford PrEP, PAN offers an assistance coupon scheme to help cover the cost.

The AIDS Action Council of the ACT also offers access to an assistance coupon scheme. Email contact@aidsaction.org.au for more information.

PrEP is a program

Using PrEP is just one step in maintaining a sexual health strategy. This involves taking one pill every day and seeing your GP or attending a sexual health clinic every three months for a full sexual health check-up that will test for HIV as well as other STIs.

If you have questions about starting, stopping or continuing to use PrEP, talk to your GP, The AIDS Action Council of the ACT, another HIV/AIDS organisation, or community groups on Facebook like PrEP’D For Change and PAN (PrEPaccessNOW).

How to get PrEP elsewhere in Australia

Clinical studies are available to residents in some other states and territories around Australia. You can still personally import PrEP with a prescription wherever you’re based.

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