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Welcome to the Victorian Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Project.

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VicPrEP is a new study exploring the acceptability, safety, impact and feasibility of prescribing daily pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to people at risk of HIV infection.

The study is also investigating the uptake of PrEP among eligible individuals and the reasons people accept or decline this HIV prevention strategy.

Open participant survey here  



VicPrEP closed to recruitment

The VicPrEP study is closed to recruitment. Click here [PDF] for more information on PrEP access options.

Truvada supply extended for 18 months

Supply of Truvada for participants in the VicPrEP study has been extended for an additional 18 months. Contact the study team if you have any questions about your individual circumstances.


About VicPrEP


The Victorian PrEP Demonstration Project (VicPrEP) is exploring the acceptability, uptake, and impact of Truvada as HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis.

An important part of the project is to find out the reasons people accept or decline PrEP and whether there are any differences in demographics, lifestyle, or attitudes between people in these two groups.

Among those who are eligible but decline PrEP, the project will document the reasons for this decision, and will compare the HIV and STI test results and other data of these people to the other project participants for 2 years into the future via the Victorian sentinel surveillance system.



The results of this project will help determine the feasibility of providing an ongoing PrEP service for Victoria.

The participating sites are:

  • Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Carlton
  • Northside Clinic, North Fitzroy
  • The Centre Clinic, St Kilda
  • Prahran Market Clinic, Prahran

The study has been approved by the Alfred Ethics Committee (approval number 564/130).

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Participating sites

Map View on Google Maps View on Google Maps View on Google Maps View on Google Maps



All sites are closed to recruitment. Click here [PDF] for more information on PrEP access options.

1View on Google MapsMelbourne Sexual Health Centre, Carlton
580 Swanston Street
Carlton   Vic 3053
phone: (03) 9341 6200

2View on Google MapsNorthside Clinic, North Fitzroy
370 St. Georges Road
Fitzroy North   Vic 3068
phone: (03) 9485 7700

3View on Google MapsThe Centre Clinic, St Kilda
Rear 77 Fitzroy Street
St Kilda   Vic 3182
phone: (03) 9525 5866

4View on Google MapsPrahran Market Clinic, Prahran
325 Chapel Street
Prahran   Vic 3181
phone: (03) 9514 0888




Participants' zone


Study entry survey

Click on the link below to complete your study entry survey (for all participants). Open participant survey here

Quarterly surveys

If you are a continuing participant in the project, you will be sent a secure link to a brief survey after you have attended your clinic visit. This link will be sent to the email address that you provided.

Open participant survey here
The survey is not designed to be completed on a mobile device. Please access the survey via a PC, laptop or tablet.

You can click on the link below to access a copy of the information and consent form. This document provides information relevant to participants in both study groups (that is, whether you accepted the offer of taking daily PrEP, or whether you declined this offer but agreed to complete the participant survey and allow the research team to access your HIV and STI test results over the next 2 years).

Information & consent form [PDF]


Clinics' zone


We would be very interested in hearing (anonymous) feedback from clinicians and other health-care providers involved in the Victorian PrEP Demonstration Project about how you think the project is going.
In due course you can access a clinic survey here on this page.


Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible to take part?

You are eligible to take part if you are HIV negative, are at least 18 years of age, and are currently at risk of acquiring HIV through sexual practices. You are considered to be at risk of HIV if in the last three months:

  • you have had sex (anal and/or vaginal) without a condom with a partner who is known to be HIV positive; or
  • you have had receptive anal sex without a condom with partners whose HIV status you don’t know; or
  • you are an uncircumcised man and have had insertive anal sex without a condom with partners whose HIV status you don’t know.
Does PrEP work?

Several large clinical trials have shown that have shown that daily use of Truvada (tenofovir plus emtricitabine) or tenofovir alone reduced HIV transmission. In a study of gay men, those taking PrEP were 44% less likely to get HIV than those taking placebo. In a study of heterosexual couples where one partner was HIV positive, the men and women taking PrEP were more that 70% less likely to get HIV than those taking placebo. When the results of these and other studies were examined closely, the researchers also found that people who took the pills daily (or almost every day) were much less likely to get HIV than those who took their pills less often.

How long after I start taking the pills do they become effective?

The time required to achieve the greatest protection against HIV infection after you start taking daily Truvada is unknown. There is no agreement yet within the scientific community about what concentrations of Truvada are protective within the cells of the immune system and different tissues of the body. In cells of the immune system and in vaginal tissues, it takes around 20 days before maximum drug levels are reached. In the rectum, maximum drug levels are achieved after 7 days. It is not known how long it takes to achieve maximal protective levels in penile tissue, which is relevant to men practising insertive sex.

This advice is adapted from Preexposure prophylaxis for the Prevention of HIV Infection in the United States, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014.

Do I need PrEP if my partner is on treatments?

If you are in a steady relationship with an HIV-positive partner you should discuss with your doctor whether PrEP is a good idea for you. Recent studies among both gay and heterosexual couples where one partner was HIV positive found that the chance of HIV transmission to the other partner was reduced dramatically when the HIV-positive partner was on treatments and had an undetectable viral load.

However, there were several cases where the HIV-negative partner acquired HIV from condomless sex with a casual partners outside the relationship.

What are the side effects?

The most common side effects include nausea, back pain, dizziness and vomiting. The drugs have also been associated with loss in bone mineral density and changes in kidney function (although these changes have not been permanent).

How much does it cost?

If you are eligible and you decide to take PrEP, you will be required to pay either $36.10 (for non-concession card holders) or $5.90 (for concession card holders) per prescription. You will need to pay this amount every 3 months, at the time you fill your prescriptions from either Alfred pharmacy or Melbourne Sexual Health pharmacy.

Depending on which clinic you attend, you may also be required to pay for your quarterly visit to your doctor.

How often do I have to go to the clinic?

After the study entry visit you will need to see your doctor every 3 months (90 days). At this visit you will have HIV and STI tests and be given a new prescription for Truvada – which you will need to take to either Alfred pharmacy or Melbourne Sexual Health pharmacy to be filled.

Also, after one month of starting PrEP, you will be phoned by the project team to check how you are going.

How do I enrol?

You need to make an appointment to see a doctor at one of the participating sites listed here. If you are not a current patient at any of these clinics, please advise the clinic at the time of making an appointment that you are interested in participating in the VicPrEP Project.

  • Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Carlton
  • Northside Clinic, North Fitzroy
  • The Centre Clinic, St Kilda
  • Prahran Market Clinic, Prahran
What happens at the end of the project?

This project provides PrEP to eligible participants for one year. After that time active follow up will end. Supply of the drugs will also stop after one year.

Whether you accept or decline the offer of taking PrEP, your HIV and STI test results will be accessed by the project team through the Victorian HIV Sentinel Surveillance network for up to 24 months.

Do I need to take a pill every day?

Yes. The results of the effectiveness of PrEP have come from clinical trials based on daily dosing. People who took the pills daily (or almost every day) were much less likely to get HIV than those who took their pills less often. Among gay men in a large PrEP study for example, daily dosing was equivalent to a 99% reduction in HIV risk, whereas taking less than 4 doses per week was associated with a 76% reduction in HIV risk.

There are trials underway looking at other non-daily dosing strategies but none of these studies have released results yet.

Can I stop and start the pills?

No. It’s important that you maintain high enough levels of the drugs to provide protection in case of exposure to HIV. This means taking the pills regularly. Taking the pills occasionally (for example, only around the time of having sex without condoms) with partners whose HIV status you don’t know will not provide sufficient protection will not provide sufficient protection.

If you stop taking the pills completely for a period of time, it is possible to start taking them again during the period you are part of the project. However, during the time you are not taking the pills you will not have the additional protection of the drugs against HIV infection. Please call the clinic you attend for further advice if this occurs.

If you just miss a dose or two, you should continue take to PrEP as normal. Everyone has trouble remembering to take pills, and it is very unusual that you will take all the pills exactly as directed. If you forget to take a pill, take it as soon as you remember that day. Do not take more than one dose of Truvada in a day.

What does it involve?

For everyone who is offered PrEP (whether you accept or decline):

Everyone who is offered PrEP will be asked to complete an online survey that includes questions about their sexual practices, current relationship status, HIV/STI testing history, attitudes to PrEP, and use of conventional methods for preventing HIV. Your responses to the online survey are confidential and are not provided to your doctor. Everyone who completes the survey will have their HIV and STI test results accessed by the research team for up to 24 months

For people who decide to take PrEP only:

Before you start PrEP you will have a full clinical assessment. This assessment involves a discussion of your medical history, previous sexually transmissible infections, and current sexual practices. You will also have a sexual health check (for gonorrhea, Chlamydia and syphilis), and blood tests for HIV, hepatitis B, electrolytes, and liver function. Women will also have a pregnancy test.

After starting PrEP you will see your doctor every 3 months (90 days) for a period of one year to discuss and evaluate side effects, drug toxicity, adherence to the dosing requirements and your sexual behaviour. At each of these visits you will have a sexual health check, and blood tests for HIV and to measure the levels of Truvada in your blood. On the day of this visit (or soonafter) you will fill out a short online survey on your experiences of taking the pills and your sexual practices since your previous visit, and of your overall satisfaction with the project. A small number of participants will also be invited to take part in optional one-on-one qualitative interviews.

Can I withdraw if I change my mind?

Of course. You can stop your involvement in VicPrEP at any time. If you decide to withdraw from the project we ask that you advise your doctor immediately. We would also be interested in recording your reasons for withdrawing from the project—for example, whether your circumstances have changed, or you had a negative experience.

You can choose either to withdraw completely from the study or simply to stop taking PrEP but remain in the follow-up arm. If you remain in the follow-up arm, your HIV/STI results and other data will continue to be linked via the Victorian sentinel surveillance system and HIV Registry for up to 2 years from the time you enrolled in the study.

Your decision to stop will not affect your relationship with your doctor in any way.

If you decide to withdraw after you have already started taking the pills we recommend you continue taking the pills for 28 days after your last possible exposure to HIV. After you stop PrEP, the duration of protective levels of the study drug (Truvada) is not known.

You will have an HIV test one month after you stop taking the pills and another HIV test two months later.


Project partners


Funding partners

Department of Health, Victoria
Gilead Sciences

Institutional partners

Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW Australia
Burnet Institute

Clinical partners

The Centre Clinic
Melbourne Sexual Health Centre
Northside Clinic
Prahran Market Clinic



Community partners

Victorian AIDS Council (VAC)
Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO)

Other partners

Monash University
University of Denver, Colorado, USA




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