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PrEP demand grows as people seek new HIV protection medication in Bendigo

Bendigo Community Health Services is seeing increased demand for the HIV prevention medicine Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP.

Research has shown PrEP can reduce the risk of HIV transmission by up to 99 per cent when taken daily.

The Therapeutic Drugs Administration approved the fixed-dose combination pill of Tenofovir+ Emtricitabine in August 2018 with the medicine now listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in Australia.

Bendigo Community Health Services nurse practitioner Peter Strange said the bulk-billed service offered by the Men’s Health Clinic included a full 45-minute assessment, PrEP prescription, sexual health screening and follow up.

PrEP does not protect against STIs such as syphilis or gonorrhoea and a regular assessment is vital for complete care given the rise of these infections in Australia in recent years.

“A sexual health history is conducted to determine the risks of the clients and therefore appropriate prescription of PrEP,” Peter said.

“A 45-minute consultation is allocated for the history, including pathology for STI assessment and medical requirements. The client leaves with a PrEP script to cover the next three months and will be notified of results within a week.

“A follow up appointment is usually arranged for three months.”

PrEP referrals to the Men’s Health Clinic can be made by a medical professional or member of the community.

Call Bendigo Community Health Services on (03) 5448 1600 to make an appointment with the Men’s Health Clinic.

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