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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    United front to expand PrEP in Queensland

    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Friday, February 12, 2016

    United front to expand PrEP in Queensland

    The Palaszczuk Government will unite with the Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC) and HIV Foundation Queensland to give more Queenslanders access to HIV prevention medicine.

    Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick today announced Queensland’s state-wide pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) demonstration project would be extended.

    “The current demonstration project which began last September will make PrEP - a single tablet taken once daily to shield people from acquiring HIV - available for 150 Queenslanders at risk of contracting HIV,” he said.

    “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.”

    Mr Dick said a PrEP working group involving the government, QuAC and HIV Foundation Queensland was being established to progress the project’s expansion.

    “This group will commence work within the next 14 days and I expect them to make recommendations to government regarding an expansion of the project within two months,” he said.

    Queensland AIDS Council 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.”

    HIV Foundation Queensland Chair Dr Darren Russell also welcomed the announcement.

    “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.

    “I congratulate the Palaszczuk Government on seizing this unique opportunity that will enable an historic turning point in the battle to end HIV and look forward to working with the government and Queensland AIDS Council on this important issue.”

    The current demonstration project involves provision of PrEP in six sites - four Queensland Health Sexual Health Services and two general practices.

    PrEP is the first medical prevention option that prevents the transmission of HIV prior to someone being exposed to the virus. Clinical trials have shown the drug is 96 per cent effective in preventing HIV transmission.

    But Mr Dick said while expanding the project was an important step in the fight against HIV, long-term, sustainable and equitable access to PrEP remained dependent on the Federal Government.

    “With this project and this tablet, we have a strong chance of further reducing the number of new HIV cases we see in Queensland,” Mr Dick said.

    “But the best way for PrEP to become widely available and accessible to those who need it is through its approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

    “The Palaszczuk Government is stepping up to the mark, but it is crucial that the Federal Government plays its part in HIV prevention by ensuring a PBS listing for this valuable medication.”

    ENDS

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