QuAC Launch of PrEP Campaign and why cant my fellow GPs always help MSM patients?
It was heart warming and praiseworthy to see the Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC) launch what one QuAC employee told me was Australia’s first PrEP public education programme in Australia..
In a segment of the AFAO Community and Advocacy Hub forum, QuAC passionately and convincingly launched their education programme aimed at HIV sero negative gay men who consider they want or need extra protection to minimise HIV infection.
Blue and black PrEP T-shirts were prominent and panel members gave personal accounts of their use or desire for PrEP.
I am a GP and sadly for me one panel member vividly told of the difficulties he was encountering with his GP to achieve PrEP. The panel member recalled the concern of the GP to prescribe a medicine outside “government recommended” principles. The panel member said he provided written material to the GP and in the end he was referred to a Sexual Health physician for a definitive decision – but not without being warned the Sexual Health physician decision would be final and after that decision, the panel member/ patient “should let the matter rest”. My goodness!
I had hoped his GP and all the 25,000 GPs of Australia could manage such a request.
Another panel member said MSM patients have had to “drag” GPs along to an “acceptable point of view” for many years.
The dilemma of gay men seeking appropriate treatment from GPs needs further attention and debate and education in GP circles.
The issue of how to find a GP who is sensitive to gay men was highlighted. Just how do a MSM client/ patient know they will receive modern, non judgemental, aware and informed advice?
This is an ongoing problem, especially for remote and rural men.
There is much education going on. It might be best to take GPs along with this swell.
Well done, QuAC. I admire your programme which sends the PrEP message to gay websites including SameSame, Recon, Gay News, Grindr and other popular gay internet locations frequented by gay and bisexual men.
PrEP has the potential to minimise the spread of HIV so all efforts to ease access need to be canvassed and supported. The TGA and PBS should move their processes along – and hopefully they will, despite the bureaucratic processes and the inevitable pundits.