Where Can I Get Treatment?
Where Can I Get Treatment?
People living with HIV can get their HIV medication from their local pharmacy, an online pharmacy or a hospital-based pharmacy, whatever suits them better.
QPP have produced a brochure on community pharmacy dispensing, along with some additional information.
Can I utilise both community pharmacies and hospital pharmacies?Yes, although you are encouraged to develop a regular relationship with one pharmacy and have them hold your repeat prescriptions, you can access other pharmacies (including hospital pharmacies) so long as you are in possession of a current prescription for your HIV medicines.
If you wish to move to another pharmacy you will need to request return of your prescription repeats.
Can I access more than 2 months’ supply at once?If you have circumstances which will prevent you from accessing a community or hospital pharmacy for your repeats prescriptions (e.g. extended holidays, working away, living remotely), you can ask your doctor whether he/she may be willing to authorise some, or all, of your repeats to be issued at once. This is called a “Regulation 24” authorisation.
What if my community pharmacy is unwilling to fill my prescription?Due to the high cost of some HIV medications, community pharmacies may not be able to stock all medications. If your chosen pharmacy does not have your medication in stock, we encourage you to have a discussion with your pharmacist about ordering the required medication and the length of time it would take. Pharmacists have an obligation to ensure patients can access their medications, so if your community pharmacy cannot supply the medications, the pharmacist should assist you with identifying other available sources for your required medications. If you have any further issues please contact QPP.
What if my community pharmacy is unable to fill my prescription?This is frustrating for the pharmacists themselves, as it will undoubtedly be for you. If you encounter difficulty in obtaining your HIV medications from your chosen community pharmacy, your pharmacy may be able to advise you on an alternative source of supply. You also still have the option of obtaining your medicines from a hospital pharmacy.
It is recommended that, when you request your prescription to be filled by a Community Pharmacy, you advise them of the particular medication (drug) names on your prescription, asking them if they can supply those particular medications. Calling ahead to inquire with your chosen Community Pharmacy is recommended.
Medication Reminder AppsMedication reminder apps are useful reminder tools to assist you with notification when your medications are due for re-ordering at your community or hospital pharmacy. The apps let you know how many doses you have left and when you need to re-order your prescription, and some apps can link to your pharmacy’s website. The following are examples only. We encourage you to determine which app, if any, is right for you.
Pharmacies which offer online and mail-ordering of HIV medicinesYou are encouraged to make your own enquiries with online pharmacies. However, indirect ordering and supply of medicines, such as internet and mail-order dispensing, are less than the optimal way of delivering a pharmacy service, because communication with a pharmacist may not be available.
Some examples of online Pharmacies are listed below:
Are community pharmacists trained and up-skilled in HIV medicine dispensing?In Queensland, and nationally, a number of resources and educational initiatives have been undertaken by the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine (ASHM), the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA), the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), and the Society of Hospital Pharmacists Australia (SHPA), to help familiarise community pharmacists with HIV medications, their dispensing, side-effects and drug interactions.
Where can I get a prescription for treatment?HIV Treatment is available throughout Australia to ALL people living with HIV, regardless of Medicare status.
Clinical assessment from a HIV or Sexual Health Physician (doctor) is required before treatment is recommended or a prescription provided. This is because each individual may have different medical and personal circumstances that indicate to the doctor when treatment may be needed.
HIV treatment is a highly specialised medical issue that only specifically trained doctors can provide. Such doctors are called “S100 Prescribers” – a number of private and government clinics have resident S100 Prescribers within Queensland (and throughout Australia).
In Queensland, the Communicable Diseases Branch maintains an S100 prescribers list, available here.
Additionally, Queensland Government provides FREE sexual health and HIV specialist clinic services around the state – located in most large regional areas, and some rural or smaller regions. You may contact us at QPP for a list of contact details for these services, or alternatively visit the Queensland Health website which provides the contact list of state-wide HIV & Sexual Health clinical services:
When Should I Start Treatment?
It is important to discuss all the benefits and risks to starting treatment, and your personal readiness to start treatment with your doctor. Today, most people are recommended to start treatment once a diagnosis is confirmed.
How Much Does Treatment Cost?
Treatment for HIV is available throughout Australia at highly subsidised costs for Medicare Card holders, through the PBS.
Accessing Treatment Without Medicare
It is possible for anyone in Australia to access HIV treatment without medicare, in many cases for free.
Drug Resistance & Adherence
HIV drug resistance is caused by changes in the genetic structure of HIV that affect the ability of medicines to work effectively. Ensuring you are as consistent with your regime as possible reduces this possibility.
Side Effects & Changing Treatment
Modern HIV drugs tend to have minimal side-effects but some side effects can still occur. This is why all changes to your treatment should always be in consultation with your HIV doctor.
Our trained team is here to help you should you have any questions or need support. You can contact QPP toll free from a Queensland land-line on 1800 636 241 or (07) 3013 5555 nationally, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our contact us form.