Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP is a way for people who do not have HIV but who might be at risk of getting it (through sex, injecting drugs, workplace accidents etc) to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day.
PrEP involves taking a pill every day which prevents the virus from becoming established in the body if a person is exposed to the virus. It is pretty effective: a recent study found that if people took their preventative medication 90% of the time people were 75% less likely to get HIV.
In Australia, the drug we use for PrEP is called Truvada. At the moment it is not subsidised by the Australian Government, which means that it can cost around $700 for a four week course of the drug.
There is now a big debate going on about whether the government should subsidise the cost. This was discussed recently on ABC’s Radio National. If you’d like to find out more about the program you can find it here: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/2014-10-26/5829648
People that are for the drug being subsidised say that it would decrease the rate of new HIV infections in Australia.
However those that are against it say that it encourages people to be promiscuous and use it as a ‘party drug’, that it is expensive, and it doesn’t stop people from getting other STI’s.
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts? Do you think the Government should subsidse PrEP?