Great strides have been made in the area of HIV prevention recently with the inclusion of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Having access to PrEP through the PBS makes it more accessible to people who may be at risk of exposure to HIV by reducing the cost and increasing the number of medical practices it is available. Previously, PrEP was mostly prescribed from hospitals and Emergency Department, whereas it is now able to be prescribed at a general practice or sexual health clinic like Kardinia Health.
PrEP involves people who are HIV negative taking antiretroviral drugs daily to prevent HIV infection and it offers more than 99% protection from contracting HIV. People who may be at high risk of exposure to HIV can include men who have sex with other men and people who have a partner with HIV that haven’t achieved an undetectable viral load.
Kardinia Health also believes that further education in the area of PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) is also important when it comes to HIV prevention. PEP involves a 4 week course of antiretroviral drugs taken within 72 hours (3 days) of exposure to HIV and can be 80% effective in preventing the transmission of HIV. If you think you have been exposed to HIV, early treatment is vital in preventing its transmission.
Although PrEP and PEP are at the forefront of HIV prevention they don’t prevent the transmission of other STI’s (sexually transmitted infections), such as gonorrhea and syphillis, which have seen an increase in transmission rates with the advent of social media and casual dating apps. STI screening is also encouraged in people who fall into higher risk categories and can be conducted confidentially at Kardinia Health.
If you are interested in protecting yourself from HIV, believe you may have been exposed to HIV or would just like an STI check, contact Kardinia Health and make an appointment to see one of our general practitioners by calling 03 5202 9333 or book an appointment here.