Nurse Practitioners included as authorised prescribers for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C medicines
Nurse Practitioner s100 Prescribing: What does this mean?
From 1 April 2020, Nurse Practitioners (NPs) experienced in the care and management of people living with HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are eligible to prescribe Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) funded medicines for treatment of these blood borne viruses. NPs can already prescribe medicines to treat hepatitis C for people living in the community, but now they can also prescribe Hepatitis C medicines for people in prisons. Expanding NP prescribing to include HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C medicines will improve access to care for people who have a NP in the health service that they visit.
NPs have been an integral part of the Australian health system for 20 years and have been safely and effectively prescribing medicines in Australia since 2010, including Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for the prevention of HIV and treatment for hepatitis C.
They already provide care to many people living with HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C in major cities, regional, rural and remote towns through health services such as:
- Sexual health clinics
- General practices
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services
- Community health centres
What is a Nurse Practitioner?
Within our healthcare system, NPs are the most senior nurses working in clinical settings. They have completed postgraduate Masters degree level study and are registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board as Nurse Practitioners. NPs are already able to:
- Provide expert healthcare to all members of the community
- Raise awareness of health promotion activities and strategies for disease prevention with community members
- Write prescriptions for patients to access Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines for many health conditions
- Order x-rays and tests to diagnose health conditions
- Refer patients to a specialist or hospital if needed
- Collaborate with other health professionals, for example, General Practioners, Infectious Disease Clinicians and Sexual Health Physicians, physiotherapists, social workers and occupational therapists to support people to manage their health and wellbeing
To prescribe HIV and hepatitis B medicines NPs need to complete an accreditation course. This means some NPs may not be able to prescribe your next script immediately but will be able to do so in due course. ASHM is currently adapting its education courses for online delivery, including the HIV and Hepatitis B s100 Prescriber courses. The process of adaption might delay the commencement of accreditation courses.
Community members are encouraged to talk with their NP to discuss these changes and what they mean for them.
Search for a Nurse Practitioner by location
You can search for accredited NPs, by location, on the ASHM website:
ASHM is a peak organisation of health professionals in Australia and New Zealand who work in HIV, viral hepatitis, other BBVs and sexually transmissible infections. They are the national accreditation education provider for continuing medical education for community practitioners who prescribe s100 medications in HIV.