Queenslanders with HIV can now access medication for free


Queensland Health Minister Shannon Fentiman and placard at rally with HIV message U=U, which means undetectable equals untransmissible, HIV care is now free for all
Images: Stock photo, Shannon Fentiman/Facebook (right)

All Queenslanders living with HIV can now access their HIV medication for free, with Queensland Health now waiving co-payments for antiretroviral therapy.

HIV antiretroviral medication works to stop the virus from replicating in the body and protects the immune system.

The medication not only allows those with HIV to live long and healthy lives, but once on successful treatment their viral load becomes undetectable. This means they can no longer transmit the virus to their sexual partners.

Queensland Health Minister Shannon Fentiman announced the move in July. She was speaking at the 12th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science in Brisbane.

On October 3, the state government’s waiver of the co-payments came into effect.

All Queensland public hospital pharmacies and community pharmacies in the state are now dispensing the medication at no cost.

All people living with HIV in Queensland can access it for free, regardless of their Medicare status.

Medicare-ineligible people living in Queensland can access free HIV-related medical care, pathology testing and treatment through public health facilities, such as sexual health clinics and public hospital pharmacies, Fentiman announced.

An important milestone towards ending HIV transmission

Health Minister Shannon Fentiman said the move is “an important milestone” towards the goal of eliminating transmission by 2030.

“By reducing the financial burden for those who need HIV medication, we can improve access and help reduce the risk of transmission,” Fentiman said.

Shannon Fentiman at the IAS 2023 conference announcing HIV medication co-payment waivers
Image: courtesy of IAS 2023/Facebook

Fentiman said Queensland recorded 100 new diagnoses of HIV in 2022, compared to 246 in 2014.

“By removing barriers and waiving the co-payment for antiretroviral HIV medications, we can ensure equitable access to safe and affordable healthcare,” she said.

Queensland Positive People (QPP) also cheered the state government’s move. President Mark Counter said free and equitable access to treatment has been a long-term goal of QPP.

“We applaud the Queensland Government for their commitment to ensuring all people living with HIV in Queensland regardless of their circumstances will have access to free treatment, allowing us to achieve an undetectable viral load and live long, healthy lives.”

More information is at the Queensland Positive People website.

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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