From 1 July, HIV treatments can be picked up from local chemists (HIV medicines have historically been dispensed from hospital pharmacies). PLHIV will still be able to access their meds from hospital pharmacies if they wish; however, the changes will provide greater flexibility and convenience as — unlike hospital pharmacies — community chemists are often open in the evenings and over the weekends. There will also be options for PLHIV to arrange for the delivery of their meds online (only scripts dated 1 July or after can be processed).
People are advised to plan ahead to renew scripts so as to allow time for the pharmacist to order stock, especially those living in an outer suburban, regional or rural area. As the HIV drugs remain highly specialised (s100), not all chemists will choose to dispensethem, so it is important people check with the pharmacist first.
And in a survey conducted by the National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA), 72 percent of PLHIV signalled a preference for collecting their treatments from a community chemist. However, the NAPWHA survey also found that 70 percent of respondents expressed some concern about their HIV status being known to their local pharmacy.