Queensland Health along with the Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC) and HIV Foundation Queensland (HIVFQ) are currently discussing how best to progress the expansion of the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) demonstration project throughout the state.
The working group is expected to submit its recommendations to the Queensland Government by the end of April.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said that the Queensland Government is committed to stepping up to the mark. “We want to work together to grow this number to give even more Queenslanders a chance to benefit from this important medication and prevent the spread of HIV in our state,” he said.
QuAC Executive Director Michael Scott said the partnership between the three bodies was a significant step forward. “To reach the 2020 goal of zero new HIV notifications, all prevention mechanisms must be embraced, including increased access to PrEP,” he said. “QuAC applauds the Palaszczuk Government for taking this proactive stance on PrEP and HIV prevention.”
HIVFQ Chair Dr Darren Russell also welcomes the move. “The Foundation has long championed the evidence around treatment as prevention for HIV, from both a clinical and community perspective,” he said. "The evidence around PrEP is clear and a rapid scale up of access to PrEP for Queenslanders is essential to end new HIV transmissions by 2020."
The current Queensland PrEP Project (QPrEP) involves the provision of PrEP from six sites: four Queensland Health Sexual Health Clinics (Cairns, Townsville, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast), and two general practices in Brisbane. In its current form, QPrEP is only catering to 150 participants.
QPrEP’s expansion is expected to bring the state in line with southern state counterparts. A trial of 3,700 people in New South Wales was announced in December and, soon after, a similar trial of 2,600 people was announced in Victoria.