Up to 2600 Victorians at high risk of HIV infection will have access to the latest HIV prevention treatment Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), as part of a new study supported by Burnet Institute.
Called PrEPX, the study is expected to reduce new HIV infections in Victoria by up to 30 percent in gay men, with an estimated 77 new HIV infections averted over a period of a few years.
PrEP is a highly effective HIV prevention method where HIV-negative people take HIV medication, Truvada, to reduce their chance of acquiring HIV.
PrEP is available in the United States, but is not yet approved in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration or listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
A joint partnership between the Victorian Government, Alfred Health, Victorian AIDS Council, Burnet and the Centre for Social Research in Health, PrEPX brings Victoria a step closer to achieving the virtual elimination of new HIV infections.
Burnet’s Head, HIV Research, Associate Professor Mark Stoové says PrEPX will make a significant contribution to HIV prevention in Victoria.
“Bringing forward access to a highly effective HIV prevention strategy, PrEPX will avert many HIV infections in the short term,” Associate Professor Stoové said.
“The project will also provide a local evidence base to help advocate for Commonwealth regulatory approval of PrEP and the establishment of a sustainable funding model.”
Burnet’s Associate Professor Edwina Wright, who is the Principal Investigator of the study said: “This is a wonderful example of how great partnerships can provide the opportunity to deliver the results cutting edge science straight to a community.”
“We are delighted with the leadership that Victoria is demonstrating on the international stage of HIV prevention.”
PrEPX is expected to begin in June 2016 and run for about 20 months.
For more information on PrEPX or how to take part in the study, click here.