The M Clinic is ecstatic with the news received on the 1st February 2017, that the Government has confirmed funding for a WA PrEP Demonstration Project for 2,000 Western Australians over a two-year period, with M Clinic as the lead clinical site. Our clients, staff and supporters have waited a long time to see PrEP become easily accessible in Western Australia and are excited to finally provide this service for our clients, both existing and new.
The M Clinic staff are honoured to be the first community-based and peer-led clinic to be placed as the lead clinical site for a PrEP Demonstration Project in Australia. We know that this has only happened because of our incredible clients and the way they have pro-actively engaged with the clinic and have worked towards maintaining your sexual health. We are excited to continue our work with the Department of Health, our funder, and the Kirby Institute, who are the research organisation providing guidance and support.
The Demonstration Project will provide much easier and straightforward access to PrEP. It doesn’t involve personally importing the drugs for example, and the cost is covered by the project. With 2,000 places available, people at risk of acquiring HIV won’t have difficulty participating. The PrEP Demonstration Project is open to all people identified most at risk of HIV, regardless of sexual orientation or gender, and is available across metro, regional and rural areas of Western Australia.
We’re also hoping to see that the increased uptake of PrEP in Western Australia will reduce the level of stigma experienced by people living with HIV. Stigma and discrimination are still significant issues for people living with HIV, however PrEP draws attention to other biomedical HIV prevention methods, such as treatment as prevention (TASP), which helps combat some of the unfounded fears HIV negative people may have about having sexual relationships with people living with HIV.
With the funding only just announced, work begins now to bring the Demonstration Project to actualisation. One of the bigger tasks is getting ethics approval, which is a detailed process and does take some time. We have stated our goal of commencement being early in the second half of 2017. To us, this means July 1st, however if we can be fully ready earlier we will commence earlier.
The Demonstration Project is a criteria-based access program. This means that eligibility for participation will be determined based on HIV risk criteria. The aim is to rapidly enrol eligible people and follow them for up to two years while they take PrEP.
To facilitate the smooth entry of eligible people into the project, we will shortly establish a pre-registration program. Pre-registration will involve providing some details of your personal and sexual histories. All information collected will be secure and confidential.
We will also ensure details of implementation progress will be on both the M Clinic and WA AIDS Council websites. People interested will also be able to subscribe to a special newsletter and questions can be directed to a specific email address (details below). Please keep in touch with our progress in the WA PrEP Demonstration Program by accessing our websites, subscribing to the WA AIDS Council newsletter and through pre-registration when it becomes available.
If you currently feel you need PrEP right now, it’s worth considering commencing immediately via the existing PrEP access programs using the personal importation process. The important thing is to try to stay HIV negative until the PrEP Demonstration Project commences. Details on how to access PrEP in the interim are on the M Clinic website, however you can always call, email or Facebook message us and ask us questions. Current or previous PrEP use does not affect eligibility into the project.
On behalf of all the staff and volunteers at M Clinic, we are privileged to have the opportunity to support you through your journey onto PrEP and beyond.
M Clinic Coordinator
For Information on the WA PrEP Demonstration Project: