Living with HIV
There is growing community awareness about PrEP (Pre Exposure Prophalyxis) as a highly effective biomedical HIV prevention tool. PrEP is a combination of two drugs, tenofovir and emtricitabine, that an HIV-negative person takes every day to protect themselves against HIV exposure during sex.
Based on recent scientific evidence there is a need to ensure that community members are aware of PrEP developments and how they impact Australians considering use of PrEP. PrEP is increasingly being requested and purchased by individuals who are at risk of HIV infection across Australia.
At the moment there are no programs to provide PrEP for free to people with high-risk sexual practices. If they can afford it, an HIV-negative person can obtain PrEP by getting a prescription from an s100 GP and then paying out of pocket to import generic medication from overseas.
- ACON has provided information on importing generic medication to use as PrEP.
- ASHM has developed advice for s100 clinicians on prescribing medication to use as PrEP.
Additionally, there are PrEP trials currently underway in Australia. To find out more or to see if you are eligible, follow the links below:
Talking with your friends and partners about PrEP
People living with HIV are in a unique position to provide advice and support to their friends and partners who are considering or currently using PrEP. Living Positive Victoria, in partnership with the Victorian AIDS Council (VAC) have prepared Talking to your HIV negative friends about PrEP as a guide for people living with HIV in discussion with HIV negative gay men.
If you’re a gay man using hook-up sites like Grindr and Scruff you might see individuals putting (=) next to their profile names. Positive guys will often put (+) next to their name to indicate that they are HIV positive and lessen the likelihood of being rejected on the basis of their status. In some cases the (=) indicates that the guy is on PrEP or that they are seeking partners who take equal responsibility for their sexual health. Here’s what one guy said about his use of (=):
“I am PrEP and Poz friendly. The (=) in my screen name means that I am stigma-free, and don’t discriminate against people based on their HIV status. I highly recommend doing some research and making informed decisions. If you are Poz… get on treatment so you’ll be undetectable, which science now shows makes you non-contagious to others. If you are Neg and want to have natural sex (without condoms), consider going on PrEP and the changes of contracting HIV are nearly 0%. This will not prevent other possible diseases, however. So, discernment is still important. Safe sex no longer just means condoms.”