National: Rule change makes HIV prevention drug PrEP more accessible
1:30 pm on 20 June 2022
By Caitlin Gill, Trishil Dahya
Pharmac is overhauling its criteria for funded access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a safe sex drug commonly taken by MSM that helps protect against HIV.
From 1 July, some criteria for a funded prescription will be removed, including needing to have had unprotected receptive anal sex with a casual partner in the last three months.
PrEP, otherwise known as Truvada, will be available for less than $2 a month for those at high risk of HIV.
The new criteria requires patients to be at significant risk but test negative for HIV.
Max Tweedie, Executive Director of Auckland Pride, welcomed the removal of the behavioural eligibility criteria.
"The existing criteria severely restricts access and forces those at risk of HIV to undertake risky behaviours to be eligible."
PrEP reduces the risk of being infected with HIV by up to 99 percent.
Public Interest Journalism Funded by NZ on Air.