Melbourne HIV clinic expands services

Fitzroy LGBTIQ-friendly sexual health clinic PRONTO! embraces a game-changing HIV prevention method.

Melbourne HIV clinic PRONTO! has expanded its range of services to provide access to PrEP – a new and proven HIV prevention method. 

The Fitzroy-based, LGBTIQ-friendly clinic is known in the community as a safe and welcoming space for sexual health testing, information and support. It has provided free rapid HIV testing since 2013, when it was established by the Victorian AIDS Council as part of the Victorian Government’s HIV prevention strategy.

Now it’s opened a brand new PrEP Clinic, where GPs can provide all necessary information about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) – from baseline tests to prescriptions, information on how to access the drugs and ongoing check-ups. 

PrEP has been proven to significantly reduce the risk of contracting HIV. While it is not yet approved by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration, it can be prescribed off-label for the purposes of HIV prevention – for example, to help an HIV-negative person reduce their risk of contracting the virus from a partner who is HIV-positive. It involves taking a combination of HIV medications daily. 

“Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has been proven to significantly reduce the risk of contracting HIV.” 

In February, the Victorian Government announced its PrEPX trial, which will provide PrEP access for up to 2,600 people at high risk of acquiring HIV in Victoria. Australians are also allowed to import generic PrEP drugs from overseas, and PrEP clinics such as PRONTO! can advise you on how to do this safely and legally.

Victorian AIDS Council CEO Simon Ruth says expressions of interest for PrEP have been pouring in. 

“It’s exciting to see so many Victorians keen to take responsibility for their sexual health, and the new PrEP Clinic at PRONTO! will make sure our community has another way to access this game-changing HIV prevention method sooner rather than later.”

In addition to all this, PRONTO! now offers full STI screening, with bulk billed tests for chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis, alongside the free rapid HIV screening tests. The clinic now also has an in-house GP who specialises in LGBTIQ health.

PRONTO! manager Peter Locke says the clinic warmly welcomes new people, while assuring existing clients that it will remain the safe, community-led space they have come to know and trust over the years. 

“Existing clients who have come to trust Pronto!’s world-class, peer-led model can rest assured the peers are still running the same service, we’re just offering a few additional options for STI testing,” he says.

Find out more at pronto.org.au

Find out more about health insurance for same-sex couples.

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