The Choice is Yours is a Positive Life NSW campaign which supports the choice of people living with HIV (PLHIV) to exercise choice in accessing their HIV medications as well as supporting pharmacists with resources about these changes to dispensing HIV medications.

Positive Life NSW has long advocated for the removal of barriers for people living with HIV accessing treatment and we strongly support the introduction of a more flexible medication dispensing model which provides people living with HIV with a range of access options in a convenient, cost free and accessible manner. In 2015 we’ve seen some wins:

  • From 1 July 2015, the choice is yours whether you have your medications dispended through your local community pharmacy (chemist) or through a hospital pharmacy, and
  • From 1 October 2015, your medications will be free when you have them dispensed.

The Choice is Yours: Community pharmacy dispensing

In 2014, then Federal Health Minister, Peter Dutton, announced that from 1 July 2015, people with HIV will be able to get their HIV medications dispensed from either a hospital pharmacy or a community pharmacy. Until then, HIV medications were only available in NSW through hospital pharmacies and specific services like the Albion Street Centre Pharmacy. These services generally operate only Monday to Friday during business hours and require prior planning, employer flexibility, time away from work and in some cases, long travel times during work hours, to pick up medications.

The change in policy better aligns community prescribing and the need for patient dispensing convenience – a position which has strongly been advocated by HIV activists over the last decade.

Free HIV medicines: Co-payment waiver

In the lead up to the 2015 NSW state election the government committed to paying the patient co-payments for a range of s100 Highly Specialised Drugs, including HIV antiretroviral treatments. Implementation was announced on 27 September 2015, and the scheme began on 1 October 2015.

Previously, when you had medications dispensed, you will have paid a co-payment of $37.70 or a concessional co-payment of $6.10 for each HIV medicine prescribed. From 1 October you will not have to make this co-payment for HIV medicines. By pdfcompleting this Patient Consent Form73.09 KB with your prescriber, the co-payment charged for your medicine/s will be paid by the NSW Government.