Based in Melbourne or Victoria 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.
PrEP is now one step closer to becoming affordable and available to all Australians thanks to the recent recommendation to include it on the PBS — the list of medicines subsidised by the Australian Government. You can understand what this means for you in PrEP one step closer to becoming affordable and available to all Australians.
Joining a study
To access PrEP in Victoria via a study, you need to be assessed as eligible. To find out more about eligibility contact a participating clinic.
For metropolitan Melbourne there is a waiting list to participate in the study.
The study costs $39.50 for a full three months’ supply of PrEP, or $6.40 with a concession. You can discuss with your GP how to collect your PrEP from a local pharmacy.
The PrEPX study is not evaluating if PrEP works as a medicine. We already know it is a highly effective HIV prevention strategy and it has been 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 Victoria 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 Victoria 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.
Trans and gender diverse health services can help you to access PrEP. Equinox in Melbourne is available for trans and gender diverse people.
If you’re not part of Victoria’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 sexual health testing if you are using PrEP. Your doctor will also order a kidney function test from the same set of bloods that your regular HIV antibody test is taken.
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.
PrEP is currently not 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 month’s 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.
If you are experiencing financial hardship and are unable to afford PrEP, PAN offers an assistance coupon scheme to help cover the cost.
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.
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.
- How to get PrEP in Adelaide and South Australia
- How to get PrEP in Brisbane and Queensland
- How to get PrEP in Canberra and the Australian Capital Territory
- How to get PrEP in Darwin and the Northern Territory
- How to get PrEP in Hobart and Tasmania
- How to get PrEP in Perth and Western Australia
- How to get PrEP in Sydney and New South Wales