Australia has a copyright treaty with the USA and Gilead, the branded manufacture of Truvada, the original PrEP pill, is the only version that is allowed to be sold directly in Australia until 2021. Unfortunately it can be as much as $700 AUD per bottle or months supply. The good news is that Australian law allows for Personal Importation of the much cheaper and much more afordable generics from overseas. They must be bought outside the country, online, and delivered to your Australian address. See the list of suppliers who you can do that through in our Buy PrEP Section. You are allowed to import 3 months worth at a time, for personal use, and not for resale.
Recently a number of brands of PrEP have been approved for prophylactic (HIV preventative) use by the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration, the Australian equivalent of the FDA). Though some doctors were prepared to write prescriptions "off script" before, they now have official sanction from the TGA to give you a prescription for PrEP.
Is a Prescription Needed
A prescription is needed to get your PrEP order through Australian Customs. It is required under the Personal Importation Scheme. See Prescribing Doctors to find a GP or clinic that is PrEP-aware and will write your script for you. You will need to go back each 3 months for a new script and your doctor will test to makes sure you are still HIV negative, for STIs and your kidney function to make sure your body is working well and can handle long term medication.
How to get PrEP
There are four ways to get PrEP in Australia. Basically if you can get to a PrEP proscribing doctor then you can get PrEP one way or another and even free if you are struggling to afford it.
You can walk into a pharmacy that stocks Truvada, the Gilead version of PrEP, and buy it over the counter with your prescription. It is very expensive and outside the means of most Australians that way.
Trials are about to expire or be phased out in favour of the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) by 2020. It differs from State to State. There is a provision that allows research to use cheaper generic versions of PrEP. Each State government has paid for an allocation of PrEP to be given out cheaply or for free to people who sign up for the Trials. The effectiveness and safety of PrEP are well established. The research is focused on social patterns of use and whether people will take their pill each day reliably. You are not a medical guinea pig as part of these Trials. For more information on "Clinical Studies" see the PAN (PrEPaccessNOW) page with current information for your State. http://pan.org.au/get-prep/clinical-studies/ or the PrEP'd For Change page http://www.prepdforchange.com/how-to-get-prep,
Personal Importation (buy overseas and have it delivered)
This method is legal and available to all Australians no matter where they live in the nation. The cost is currently as low as $62.57 AUD ($48.08 USD) for a 3 month supply (90 pills) delivered to your door. You will need your prescription to upload to the online pharmacy and you can only buy 3 months at a time per script per person. They pharmacy will need to include your script in the package for Australian Customs. Some online pharmacies and suppliers may let you skip uploading the script to them but then your run the risk of Customs holding your package until you can provide a script to them anyway.
PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) Subsidy
As of the 1st of April 2018 the Australian government through the PBS will subsidise the purchase of PrEP in local pharmacies. Though much cheaper than buying branded Truvada with out subsidy, its still about twice the cost of the cheapest personal importation (buy online). You will still need a valid prescription from your doctor for PrEP. 3 months worth on the PBS will cost $118.50 AUD whereas the cheapest 3 months worth from online and delivered to your door is $62.57 AUD.
Free PrEP through the Green Cross Pharmacy low income scheme
One of the online suppliers, Green Cross Pharmacy, run a scheme to provide free PrEP to people on low incomes. In Australia you can apply for a coupon through PAN on their web page. You just need to upload your script and something like your healthcare card to prove you are eligible. You can apply each three months for a new coupon to keep going or just as you need if your circumstances vary. More information is available https://www.greencrosspharmacy.online/coupons or,
In New Zealand you can apply through NZAF (New Zealand AIDS Foundation) at https://endinghiv.org.nz/blog-events/free-prep-for-community-services-card-holders