HIV testing and treatment is now free* for everyone in Australia, even if you don’t have a Medicare card.

* South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria may charge a copayment. 

Click on the dropdowns below to find out how you can access free HIV testing, peer support and treatment services where you live in Australia.

You can also access this information in the following languages:

Know your status. Get Tested. Get Treatment.

HIV Treatment for All – Awareness campaign

This campaign shares the great news about a Commonwealth policy shift in Australia that has made HIV testing and treatment free for all in Australia regardless of eligibility for Medicare. This includes people on student, travel and temporary work visas.

Learn more about options and strategies for encouraging timely HIV testing and treatment. This information is relevant for anyone ineligible for Medicare and for people who provide health, legal, peer and other support in relation to HIV.

Social media and poster kit

Download our social media and poster kit to get involved in the campaign. Be sure to tag your social media posts with our Campaign hashtags: #NoMedicareNoProblem #KnowYourStatus #GetTested #GetTreatment #NAPWHA

HIV Treatment for All – Awareness campaign

STEP ONE: Get tested regularly

In Australia, HIV testing is free and recommended on a regular basis, at least once a year or more frequently if you have multiple sexual partners.

Any doctor can provide you with sexual health testing, and the fullest range of services is available at sexual health clinics. Doctors with an interest in sexual health and sexual health clinics provide safe, confidential and judgement-free support.

The National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA) can also send you a free HIV self-testing kit. Kits are delivered through the Australia Post Express Post service, arriving in a standard Express Post satchel with no disclosure of content. The device inside is wrapped in bubble wrap, and there is no indication of the company name. If you’re concerned about privacy at your postal address, Australia Post offers a parcel locker service, accessible 24 hours a day. Order your FREE HIV self-testing kit.

Getting tested regularly not only looks after your own sexual health, but also your partner(s)’ sexual health.

STEP TWO: Engage HIV peer support

In Australia, free and confidential peer support is always available if you need it.

An HIV peer support worker is a person with HIV who is trained to help you understand and access the health and social services systems in Australia.

If you have HIV and would like to speak to an HIV peer support worker in confidence, NAPWHA has a list of HIV Peer Support services in each state and territory.

If you have just received an HIV diagnosis, we understand that you may be feeling lost in painful emotions and unsure what to expect. NAPWHA has created a simple resource about HIV that offers reassurance and advice.

If your HIV test result is negative, it is still important that you test regularly. You may also like to talk to a peer worker or counsellor. Ask your doctor to recommend someone you can talk to.

STEP 3: Get on treatment, fast

In Australia, HIV treatment is free* for everyone, even if you don’t have a Medicare card.

  • With timely treatment and care, HIV is a chronic manageable condition.
  • With adequate treatment, levels of the virus in your body can become undetectable, which means that HIV cannot be passed on to your partner(s).

*In South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania, you may need to pay a copayment and/or other charges.

State information

Click on the dropdown for your state or territory to find out how to access private and confidential testing, peer support and treatment where you live:

ACT

  • HIV medication is free if collected from the Canberra Hospital pharmacy.
  • Prescriptions must be written by a doctor who is authorised to prescribe HIV medications (an s100 prescriber). If your current doctor is not one of these, they will refer you to one who is.

Questions?

Your doctor, pharmacist or the Canberra Sexual Health Centre on (02) 5124 2184 can answer your questions.

You can also contact NAPWHA on 1800 259 666. If you wish to speak to an HIV peer support worker in confidence about your sexual health, please reach out to NAPWHA for HIV Peer Support in each state and territory.

NSW

  • HIV medication is free if collected from a NSW public hospital pharmacy.
  • Prescriptions must be written by a doctor who is authorised to prescribe HIV medications (an s100 prescriber). If your current doctor is not one of these, they will refer you to one who is.
  • If you cannot travel to a hospital pharmacy, your medication could possibly be delivered to a pharmacy near you. Please speak to your doctor about this service.

Questions?

Your doctor, pharmacist and staff at any sexual health clinic can answer your questions. Or call the NSW Sexual Health Infolink on 1800 451 624.

You can also speak in confidence with the peer navigation staff at Positive Life NSW on (02) 8357 8386.

You can also contact NAPWHA on 1800 259 666. If you wish to speak to an HIV peer support worker in confidence about your sexual health, please reach out to NAPWHA for HIV Peer Support in each state and territory.

NT

  • HIV medication is free if collected from a hospital pharmacy or Clinic 34.
  • Prescriptions must be written by a doctor who is authorised to prescribe HIV medications (an s100 prescriber). If your current doctor is not one of these, they will refer you to one who is.
  • If you cannot travel to Clinic 34 or a hospital pharmacy, your medication could possibly be delivered to a pharmacy near you. Please speak to your doctor to arrange this delivery service.

Questions?

Your doctor, pharmacist and the staff at Clinic 34 can answer your questions. Find your local Clinic 34.

You can also contact NAPWHA on 1800 259 666. If you wish to speak to an HIV peer support worker in confidence about your sexual health, please reach out to NAPWHA for HIV Peer Support in each state and territory.

QLD

Accessing HIV treatment in Queensland

If you are a resident of Queensland living with HIV, you can get your HIV antiretroviral medication free with Queensland Health’s HIV medication co-payment waiver. This is available to all eligible patients, regardless of your Medicare status.

To be eligible you must:

  • be a resident of Queensland (this means you must have lived here for at least 3 months)
  • be a patient of a public hospital, sexual health clinic or S100 HIV community prescriber in Queensland (or interstate/specialist prescriber if you live in a border area)
  • be prescribed HIV medication that is listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
  • have your prescription filled at a Queensland pharmacy.

Please note: the co-payment waiver is only for HIV antiretroviral medication for treatment of people with HIV. It does not include:

  • medication for any other symptoms of health conditions that result from HIV
  • HIV medication for HIV-negative people for the purpose of PrEP.

The way you get your free medication depends on whether you are eligible for Medicare.

People who are eligible for Medicare

If you have a Medicare card, you can collect your HIV prescription from any pharmacy in Queensland and you will not be charged a co-payment.

If you get your prescription from a community pharmacy (any pharmacy not in a public hospital) you will need to fill out a patient consent form to give consent for the pharmacy to share some of your details so that they can claim a reimbursement for the cost of your medication. This will include:

  • your name
  • your Medicare number
  • your postcode
  • details of the medication you were prescribed.

Once you have completed the form, it is valid for 3 years and you will need to show a copy of it every time you collect your prescription. You can either show a paper copy or a digital copy on your phone. If you decline to complete the patient consent form, you will be responsible for paying the co-payment for your HIV medication. Alternatively, you can visit a public hospital pharmacy where you do not need to complete a patient consent form to get your prescription filled.

The HIV medication you access via this co-payment scheme will count towards your PBS patient safety net.

People who are not eligible for Medicare

If you are not eligible for Medicare, you can access the co-payment waiver, as well as free HIV-related medical care, pathology testing and treatment.

To access these free services, you will need to visit your local sexual health clinic or infectious diseases outpatient clinic.

If you become eligible for Medicare, you can no longer access the Medicare-ineligible program but can still access the co-payment waiver.

Questions?

Your HIV doctor and hospital pharmacist can answer your questions. Find your nearest sexual health and HIV services in Queensland.

You can also contact NAPWHA on 1800 259 666. If you wish to speak to an HIV peer support worker in confidence about your sexual health, please reach out to NAPWHA for HIV Peer Support in each state and territory.

SA

  • HIV medication will be available free* of charge for people without Medicare when collected through government-funded hospital pharmacies.
  • A copayment for HIV medication may be charged for those with Medicare.
  • Your treating clinician will be able to arrange access to HIV medication for you.
  • If you cannot travel to a hospital pharmacy, it may be possible to arrange delivery of your HIV medication to a pharmacy near you. Please speak to your treating clinician about this service.

*In South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania, you may need to pay a copayment and/or other charges.

Questions?

Your treating clinician and any pharmacist can answer your questions. Find your nearest sexual health and HIV service in South Australia.

You can also contact NAPWHA on 1800 259 666. If you wish to speak to an HIV peer support worker in confidence about your sexual health, please reach out to NAPWHA for HIV Peer Support in each state and territory.

TAS

  • HIV medication will be available free* of charge when collected through government-funded hospital pharmacies. A copayment for HIV medication may be charged at the discretion of the hospital.
  • Prescriptions must be written by a doctor who is authorised to prescribe HIV medications (an s100 prescriber). If your current doctor is not one of these, they will refer you to one who is. Sexual Health Service Tasmania clinics (Clinic 23, 34 or 60) can also prescribe HIV medications.
  • Treatment must be collected from a government-funded hospital pharmacy. If collection from a hospital pharmacy is difficult because of distance or other factors, you can discuss other access options with Sexual Health Services Tasmania.

*In South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania, you may need to pay a copayment and/or other charges.

Questions?

Sexual Health Services (Clinic 23, 34 or 60) can answer all your questions. Access its locations and contact information

You can also contact NAPWHA on 1800 259 666. If you wish to speak to an HIV peer support worker in confidence about your sexual health, please reach out to NAPWHA for HIV Peer Support in each state and territory.

VIC

  • HIV medication will be available free* of charge when collected through government-funded hospital pharmacies. A copayment for HIV medication may be charged at the discretion of the hospital.
  • Prescriptions must be written by a doctor who is authorised to prescribe HIV medications (an s100 prescriber). If your current doctor is not one of these, they will refer you to one who is.
  • Treatment can be collected from any public hospital pharmacy.
  • If you cannot travel to a hospital pharmacy, your medication could possibly be delivered to a pharmacy near you. Please speak to your prescribing clinician or hospital pharmacy to discuss your options.

*In South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania, you may need to pay a copayment and/or other charges.

Questions?

Find your nearest public hospitals in Victoria. Your doctor or pharmacist can answer your questions or you can email VICHIVTP@health.vic.gov.au

You can also contact NAPWHA on 1800 259 666. If you wish to speak to an HIV peer support worker in confidence about your sexual health, please reach out to NAPWHA for HIV Peer Support in each state and territory.

WA

  • HIV medication is free if collected from a hospital outpatient pharmacy or through arrangements made with your doctor or clinic (courier fees may apply as per your hospital’s policies).
  • Prescriptions must be written by a hospital prescriber or sexual health clinic prescriber. If your current doctor is not one of these, they will refer you to one who is.
  • If you live regionally and cannot travel to an outpatient clinic, your medication will continue to be delivered to your home or made available for local pick up as previously arranged by your clinic.

Questions?

Your doctor, hospital pharmacy department and the HIV Information Line (call (08) 9482 0044 or visit waac.com.au) can answer your questions.

You can also contact NAPWHA on 1800 259 666. If you wish to speak to an HIV peer support worker in confidence about your sexual health, please reach out to NAPWHA for HIV Peer Support in each state and territory.

Find out more about HIV treatment in Australia.

HIV treatment has advanced considerably in recent years, giving people with HIV more advanced treatment options than ever. With treatment, HIV is today considered a chronic manageable condition.

Find out more information about how HIV treatment reduces the amount of HIV in your blood to undetectable levels and how to maintain those undetectable levels.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t have Medicare. Is HIV testing and treatment free for me?

Yes. HIV testing and treatment is free* for everyone in Australia, even if you don’t have a Medicare card. This is because the Australian Government is committed to ending HIV transmissions in Australia by 2030 and improving the quality of life for all people with HIV.

*SA, TAS and VIC may charge a copayment for HIV treatment. NAPWHA continues to advocate for these states to drop the copayment so that free really means free, no matter where you are in Australia.

 

All the information you need to know about accessing testing and treatment is available on this page. Click on the dropdown for your state or territory. 

If I test positive, where can I find support?

If your HIV test result is positive, please contact a peer support worker in your state or territory. You can also contact the confidential NAPWHA helpline on 1800 259 666.

How does me being on HIV treatment protect my partner(s)?

Accessing HIV treatment keeps you healthy and stops you from transmitting the virus to your partner(s). This is because HIV treatment reduces the virus in your body and can reach undetectable levels – this means that you cannot pass it on to your partner(s).

This is known as undetectable = untransmittable (U=U) – 98% of people with HIV who are on treatment in Australia are undetectable.

Find out more about U=U.

My friend thinks they have HIV but is refusing to get tested. How can I help them?

If you know someone who thinks they have HIV, they can call NAPWHA for confidential advice on 1800 259 666. You can also support them in visiting a testing centre or ordering a free at-home self-testing kit. All the information you need to know about accessing testing is available on this page. Click on the dropdown for your state or territory. 

My friend has HIV but is refusing to access treatment. How can I help them?

If you know someone with HIV who needs treatment or care, they can call NAPWHA for confidential advice on 1800 259 666. They may also wish to speak to an HIV peer support worker in confidence about their sexual health. Please reach out to NAPWHA for HIV Peer Support in each state and territory.

Will having HIV affect my visa application for permanent residency?

Currently, it is mandatory to take an HIV test as part of the application process for permanent residency in Australia. We know this is a concern for those who plan to seek permanent residency, but it is not a reason to delay testing. Accessing HIV treatment early will save your life and protect your partner(s) from acquiring HIV.

The HIV AIDS Legal Centre (HALC) produces guides on HIV and the law, including disclosure and accessing support in relation to applications for permanent residency. Access these guides (available in English only).

I am a healthcare worker. Where can I find further information?

Healthcare professionals can obtain further information from the Australasian Society of HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) about access to HIV treatment for people without Medicare

Find a HIV / PrEP Prescriber: ASHM’s prescriber maps provide up-to-date information on the location and contact details of suitably accredited prescribers for the management and treatment of HIV across all states and territories in Australia. By using the prescriber map, you can easily locate prescribers near you and access the best possible care. 

I have other questions. Who should I contact?

Your doctor, local pharmacist and peer support worker (reach out to NAPWHA for HIV Peer Support in each state and territory) can answer your questions.

You can also contact the confidential NAPWHA helpline on 1800 259 666

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