The HIV prevention drug, PrEP, looks set to be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), drastically slashing its price and increasing its accessibility for tens of thousands of potential users.

According to reports the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, which provides recommendations on what drugs should be listed and publicly subsidised, is set to advise the government to list Truvada, the commercial name for PrEP.

PrEP is a once-daily pill that is considered to be 99% effective at preventing new HIV diagnoses when used properly.

Truvada can currently cost up to $10,000 a year but a PBS listing is expected to bring the price to below $500 a year, meaning thousands of at-risk individuals, including men who have sex with men, injecting drug users and sex workers, will have greater access to the drug.

However whilst PrEP’s success and its listing on PBS are welcome news, much remains to be done to relise its full potential particularly among the culturally diverse communities, according to Barbara Luisi, manager of the Multicultural HIV and Hepatitis Service.

“People from diverse cultural backgrounds remain overrepresented in newly diagnosed HIV cases in Australia these past few years. For PrEP to be fully effective, we need to ensure there is increased awareness of HIV risk amongst our diverse communities, along with an understanding of the range of prevention options, including the benefits of testing and treatment. The PBS listing of PrEP is both a historic opportunity to reach out to such a population and to tackle an important global epidemic,” Ms Luisi said.