*UPDATE PrEP Trial now underway.
PrEP, or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, is a medication that, when taken daily, can protect you from getting HIV.
PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a type of medication called Truvada that is already used in Australia to treat HIV. Truvada has been shown to be extremely effective as PrEP at reducing HIV transmission.
Currently, there are two ways to get PrEP in Western Australia: via the PrEPIT-WA trial, or via self importation.
To find out more about the PrEPIT-WA trial, click here. Keep reading for information on self-importing.
What’s an off-Label prescription?
In the absence of readily available Truvada for PrEP in WA, many people are choosing to purchase it from overseas. This is easily done once you have a prescription provided by a doctor where they request the drug “off-label” i.e. for a use that the TGA doesn’t currently approve it for.
How do I get a PrEP prescription?
There are now eight places in Perth you can go to obtain a PrEP prescription.
Click here for the full list.
Adherence (how often you take your meds), is a massive factor in how effective the pill is. The current recommendation is to take PrEP daily – any less and you may not be protected.
Are there side-effects? I’ve heard there’s side effects!
Tenofovir, one of the drugs used in Truvada, has been linked to a number of common temporary side effects including vomiting and diarrhoea and in rare cases acute kidney damage. Getting a prescription from a doctor that is knowledgeable about PrEP is paramount in ensuring you are provided with the right precautions, maintain a steady supply of Truvada and undergo important monitoring for kidney dysfunction. If you are HIV positive without knowing, and were to commence PrEP assuming you were negative, you run the risk of developing resistance to drugs used in Truvada which could limit your HIV treatment options. This is why HIV testing prior to commencing PrEP is so important.
What about other STIs?
While PrEP is effective against HIV, it does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis. Condoms remain an effective way of reducing your risk of acquiring STIs, and are also recommended to be used in conjunction with PrEP to achieve the highest protection against HIV infection. If you are taking PrEP, it is recommended that have a sexual health screen every three months.
If you think PrEP would work for you, it’s easier to get than you think, and doesn’t cost as much as you would expect.
PrEP Coupons: http://www.mclinic.org.au/prep/coupon/
PrEP Access Now: https://www.prep.global/get-prep
PrEP'd For Change: Public facebook page