News

Cost barriers to access HIV treatment in Victoria

Burnet Institute

12 February, 2014

Anna Wilkinson presents the Burnet report's findings at a community forum.

Burnet Institute research has highlighted the need for a more equitable approach to HIV drug treatment distribution in Victoria in a bid to reduce financial barriers to treatment.

The report, commissioned by Living Positive Victoria and the Victorian AIDS Council/Gay Men’s Health Centre, and presented at a community forum last night, found the current system of dispensing medications does not take into account the burden of costs for people living with HIV (PLHIV).

Lead author of the Burnet report, Anna Wilkinson said the current cost of HIV medication may prevent people taking up or continuing treatment.

“The report shows many HIV patients are unaware they can access concession cards and the Safety Net threshold. In addition, the complex application process could be a potential barrier to receiving HIV medications at a lower cost, or for free,” Ms Wilkinson said.

The Burnet report highlighted that many HIV patients face a financial burden of more than $800 per year for their life-saving treatment plus additional costs for drugs to treat other related health conditions.

Living Positive Victoria President, Ian Muchamore said to reduce the negative health consequences for PLHIV and the consequent rate of new infections, the cost and access of treatments must be made more equitable and easier to access.

“We need to do whatever we can to ensure that those who need it can start treatment early and that access is easier to enable people to be successful on treatment,” Mr Muchamore said.

“This means patient-friendly dispensing systems, cost recover mechanisms and policy that does not encumber the doctor needing to assess the patient’s ability to pay for HIV treatment.”

Victorian AIDS Council/Gay Men’s Health Centre President, Greg Carter said a key question for Victoria is what we need to do to move forward.

“We need to make the current systems easier to navigate, fairer for all Victorians and still do what we can to minimise new infections and maintain good health for people living with HIV,” Mr Carter said.

To arrange an interview with Anna Wilkinson please contact:
Catherine Somerville
Senior Media and Communications Officer, Burnet Institute
Ph: 0422 043 498. Email: cathsomerville@burnet.edu.au

For additional information please contact:
Simon Ruth, Chief Executive Officer, Victorian AIDS Council/Gay Men’s Health Centre
Ph: 0419 572 629

Brent Allan Executive Officer, Living Positive Victoria
Ph: 0400 156 784

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Burnet Institute

communications@burnet.edu.au

Telephone

+61392822111

Email

communications@burnet.edu.au

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