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TASMANIANS NEED ACCESS TO LIFE SAVING HIV DRUG - Media Release, Friday 25 August 2017

SENATOR THE HON LISA SINGH

LABOR SENATOR FOR TASMANIA

With the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) deferring their decision on a possible listing on the PBS of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the Federal Government must step up and make sure that Tasmanians who need access to this treatment, have access.

PrEP is being hailed as a game changer with the potential to halt new HIV infections in our lifetime. 

Trials of PrEP have shown it is highly effective at stopping the transmission of HIV. It will play an important part in reaching the goal of no new HIV infections.

Unfortunately, access to the treatment is determined by access to state and territory trial programs. As there are no trial locations in Tasmania, at-risk Tasmanians are financially locked out of accessing the drug.

The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations says that PrEP will a key to reaching the goal of no new HIV cases by 2020.

Labor knows the incredible potential of prophylactic treatments – that’s why we amended our national platform in 2015 to acknowledge the importance of renewing efforts to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Earlier this year, Labor called on the Prime Minister him to negotiate a way forward and offered our bipartisan support on a range of measures to ensure those at risk of contracting HIV have access to the protection this drug affords.

I know that many Tasmanians were hanging their hopes on a positive PBAC decision, and will be disappointed by this delay. 

Given this deferral the Government must commit to undertaking more work to ensure all Australians at-risk of HIV have access to PrEP – especially where there are no state trials, as is the case of Tasmania.

This must be a priority for the Turnbull Government - federal leadership will be critical to breaking this stalemate and putting our country on track to end new HIV infections.

FRIDAY, 25 AUGUST 2017

MEDIA CONTACT: TAIMUS WERNER-GIBBINGS    0429 820 344