Information about TRUVADA and ATRIPLA delisting

Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO), March 30th 2020

From 1 April 2020 Truvada for HIV treatment and for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) will no longer be available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

There are alternatives to Truvada for PrEP in Australia.

Community members eligible for PrEP can access generic versions of Truvada supplied by Apotex, Mylan and Lupin Generic Health. The drugs manufactured by these three suppliers contain the same active ingredients as Truvada.

In addition, from October 2020 Atripla will be delisted. A generic equivalent of Atripla has been approved by the PBS for community members who wish to continue using Atripla.

We encourage you to talk to your prescribing doctor if you want more information about these changes.

For more information, visit the following websites:

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), HIV & hepatitis C: What you need to know

CATIE (Canada), 17 March 2020

  • An HIV-positive person on effective treatment is not expected to be at higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19
  • A person with untreated HIV or a low CD4+ cell count may be at higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19
  • People with HIV or hepatitis C are more likely to have other conditions that carry a greater risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19

 

 

The Ban on ‘Amyl’

Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) recently postponed its decision on whether or not to change the law around alkyl nitrites (the active ingredient in ‘amyl’ or ‘poppers’). Currently, the TGA is conducting public consultations into the proposed amendments that could see amyl recategorised as a ‘prohibited substance’.

The legal consequence of this decision could see amyl fall into the same category as prohibited drugs like heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine, with serious penalties for their possession, use or supply. This issue has raised concerns within our communities where amyl is used during sex.

Submissions to the TGA

The deadline for written submissions to the TGA closed on 15 January 2019; however, a number of organisations expressed their concerns including:

Earlier this month, the Nitrites Action Group (comprised of community health advocates, researchers, and clinicians) released guidelines around community submissions to the TGA.

 

Gonorrhoea: Drug Resistance in Australia

Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO), 26 June 2018

There has long been concern globally about the potential emergence of drug resistant STIs. In response, the World Health Organisation released new treatment guidelines for three common STIs – chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis – in 2016.

At present, strains resistant to first line treatment of syphilis and chlamydia are not common and not a concern in Australia. There is, however, a growing level of concern about gonorrhoea. This paper therefore focuses on the likelihood and implications of the emergence of drug resistant cases of gonorrhoea in Australia. It also highlights treatment options in Australia and current and emerging strategies for preventing drug resistant gonorrhoea.

Download paper: AFAO Brief – Gonorrhoea – Drug Resistance in Australia – 26 June 2018

HIV PrEP available on PBS in Australia from 1 April / Links to Clinical Resources

Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM), 21 March 2018

ASHM congratulates the Federal Health Minister, the Hon. Greg Hunt’s announcement of a landmark in HIV prevention to approve HIV-prevention drugs – tenofovir with emtricitabine, known as PrEP – on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme from 1 April, thereby providing broader access for any doctor or general practitioner to be able prescribe PrEP to an Australian resident who holds a current Medicare card.

“The public health benefits are clear, undeniable and transformative benefiting individuals at medium- to high-risk of HIV infection and towards driving a substantial reduction in HIV transmissions in Australia,” said ASHM President, Associate Professor Bloch.

Access Links to Clinical Resources supporting the HIV workforce

  • The definitions of risk for HIV, guidelines and procedures for the appropriate administration and monitoring of PrEP can be found here: ASHM HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis: clinical guidelines
  • The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) and ASHM have produced a PrEP Fact Sheet to assist PrEP users and people with an interest in using PrEP to understand what subsidised access to PrEP through the PBS means. Access the factsheet here
  • ASHM continues to support the workforce to ensure access to PrEP and best practice in guidelines, training and resources. Access information here
  • The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has a range of training to support pharmacists in preparing for PrEP on the PBS: www.psa.org.au

 

Can Australia be the first country to eliminate HIV transmissions?

ABC Radio National Life Matters, Monday 5 June 2017 9:06 AM

Did you know that Australia has a national strategy to reduce HIV transmission to zero by 2020? That’s a big ask and it’s only three years away.

There are currently about 25,000 people living with HIV in Australia and the number of new infections each year is down to about 1000. But it’s been stuck at that number for about five years.

This week in NSW it’s HIV testing week, a campaign which aims not only to encourage people to get tested but to normalise the idea of getting tested. Continuing stigma around HIV means that there are still too many people reluctant to get the test, even if they know they’re in a high risk group.

Guests: Darryl O’Donnell, Chief Executive of the Australian Federation of AIDS organisations (AFAO) & ‘Rachael’, a Melbourne woman living with HIV