Over the past couple of months, QuAC has worked alongside other QPrePd stakeholders to advocate to the Department of Health that the QPrePd Trial should not be finished early.
This was for a number of reasons including:
- Concerns regarding the possibility of clients seroconverting as early closure does not allow for sufficient time for participants to find an alternative means of accessing scripts for PrEP
- There is currently a shortage of GP’s across Queensland who have knowledge of PrEP to absorb those coming off the trial
- Regional and rural trial participants will be greatly affected
- The early closure is a breaking of trust with participants who were originally promised up to 4 years of free PrEP ending 30 June 2020
- This now effects negatively on the reputations of the organisations and clinics who, in good faith, encouraged people to join the trial
- Medical ineligible participants on the trial may discontinue taking PrEP as the cost of PrEP may be prohibitive
- Cost is also an issue for some low-income earners who do have access to Medicare or to GPs who are able to Bulk Bill.
Despite these concerns being raised, Queensland Health has proceeded to close the trial.
In communication from the Queensland Department of Health, QuAC was informed that:
‘A decision has been made by the Queensland Department of Health to close the QPrEPd trial by 31st January 2019. This decision to close the trial earlier than the initial end date of 30 June 2020 was made for the following reasons:
- Information collected from you and the trial site staff to date has demonstrated that the trial has addressed the original study aim and purpose listed in the Participant Information and Consent Form (PICF) given to you on enrolment:
The provision of PrEP though public sexual health services and general practices is a feasible, safe, effective and accepted model within Queensland.
- The listing of HIV PrEP medications on the PBS in April 2018 now allows any doctor / general practitioner to prescribe the medication approved by the Therapeutic Goods Authority (TGA) for use as PrEP in Australia.”
QuAC’s role now is to ensure that participants on the trial who still wish to continue to access PrEP, can do so with minimal interruption to their PrEP regime. If you are on the trial, contact your trial site to arrange your final visit. If you are having problems in the future accessing PrEP, contact QuAC on 3017 1777 or alternately visit our PrEP website www.comeprepd.info for a list of PrEP prescribers and pharmacies.” For all other enquiries contact QuAC President Peter Black at firstname.lastname@example.org