MSMGF joins the Australian Federation of AIDS Service Organizations (AFAO) and fellow HIV advocates worldwide in celebrating the Australian government’s recent move to publicly fund Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV.
This new policy will make this life-saving intervention more accessible and affordable to gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men. MSMGF has been a long-time advocate for the timely roll-out and scale-up of PrEP, a pill that has been proven to work with great efficacy in preventing HIV infection.
The move follows a positive recommendation from a government advisory committee to subsidise PrEP. A listing date is yet to be confirmed, but is expected within months.
The Australian government’s move to scale-up HIV prevention initiatives should be seen as a model for many countries around the world that are still behind in bringing necessary and optimal access to critical HIV prevention tools such as PrEP and even condoms and lubricants. Recently in Tanzania, for example, the distribution of free lubricants was banned from community HIV programs that were eventually suspended based on absurd assumptions that HIV prevention efforts inadvertently promoted homosexuality.
The Australian government’s commitment to make PrEP more broadly available is a result of tireless community-led advocacy and demand mobilization. Australian LGBT advocates were unwavering in their calls for a broader range of evidence-informed HIV prevention options for gay and bisexual men. The upcoming roll-out of PrEP in Australia is a successful example of how to integrate interventions with community effort and within the larger context of comprehensive sexual health programs.
“PrEP is a powerful HIV prevention tool and should be made available for all gay and bisexual men who need and demand it,” said MSMGF Executive Director George Ayala. “There is no silver bullet that will put an end to HIV. PrEP must be delivered in the context of comprehensive, holistic, and community-centered programs that openly affirm gay and bisexual men’s sex, sexuality and sexual health.”
MSMGF is an expanding network of advocates and other experts in sexual health, LGBT/human rights, research, and policy, working to ensure an effective response to HIV among gay men and other men who have sex with men. We are directly linked with more than 120 community-based organizations, across 62 countries.