Based in Perth or Western Australia and want to know how to get PrEP? Here’s everything you need to know about finding a GP, joining a study, PrEP on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, 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 on the PBS and in local pharmacies
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is the list of federal government subsidised medicines available to people who have access to Medicare.
Since April 1, 2018, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) has been available on the PBS and can be dispensed from any local pharmacy anywhere in Australia for no more than $39.50 per month with a valid prescription. This is the current maximum PBS co-payment fee paid at the pharmacy when collecting PrEP. This fee is the same for many other subsidised medications accessed via the PBS.
For concessional patients (Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card holders) the cost will be no more than $6.40 per month.
Further cost saving options may be available for anyone with a concession, anyone who buys other PBS medicines, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people, people without Medicare, or anyone who simply can’t afford it. You can find all options available to you in How to buy PrEP – even if you can’t afford it.
While any pharmacy can dispense PrEP, they might not always have it in stock. It’s best to check with the pharmacy in advance and if necessary, discuss how long it might take to order it for you. This could take a few days, so it’s best to make sure you top up your supply before completely running out.
You can discover more about the news to list PrEP on the PBS and what this means for you in PrEP to be subsidised in Australia from April 1, 2018.
Finding a GP
There are several GPs in Perth and one in Fremantle 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.
Joining a study
In addition to PrEP now being available on the PBS, in Western Australia the most affordable and convenient way to access PrEP is through a clinical study. The PrEPIT-WA Study is still enrolling with a total of 2000 places available.
You can contact a participating clinic directly to enquire about eligibility criteria and joining the study.
- South Terrace Sexual Health Clinic, Fremantle – (08) 9431 2149
- Royal Perth Sexual Health Clinic, Perth – (08) 9224 2178
- M Clinic, Perth – (08) 9227 0734
- GP on Beaufort, Perth – (08) 9262 8600
The study is free to all participants. You can discuss with your GP how to collect your PrEP locally.
If you live in regional Western Australia, you may be able to participate through telehealth arrangements with the Royal Perth Sexual Health Service. More information can be obtained via the WA PrEP information line on 1800 671 130.
The PrEPIT-WA 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 Western Australia in a real world setting.
Even if you are unable to join the study you can still enquire about other ways you may be able to access PrEP.
Buying online for personal import
Whether you do or don’t have Medicare you can personally import PrEP from an online pharmacy. Prices start upwards from around $20 per month, which could be a more affordable option with the added convenience of delivery to your door if getting to a pharmacy is tricky.
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 still a need to undertake regular testing if you are using PrEP.
You can find a comprehensive guide for importing PrEP in How to buy PrEP online for personal importation.
Free PrEP through financial support
If you are unable to afford PrEP for any reason, PAN offers an assistance coupon scheme to provide free PrEP.
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.
While PrEP is extremely effective at protecting against HIV, it doesn’t protect against STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis. Testing on a regular basis and receiving treatment, if necessary, is a great way to stay healthy and help curb the spread of STIs. Using a condom for all types of sex, every time you have sex, helps reduce the chance of acquiring STIs but does not guarantee full protection from them.
How to get PrEP elsewhere in Australia
PrEP is available on the PBS everywhere across 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 Melbourne and Victoria
- How to get PrEP in Sydney and New South Wales