Can’t get subsidised treatment?
Ineligible for government subsidised treatment?
Unfortunately, there are people with HIV living in Australia who do not qualify for Medicare or subsidised treatment. These include people living in Australia for extended periods on long-stay temporary visas – such as overseas students, people on work visas, and people on bridging or partner visas waiting for permanent residency applications to be decided.
Some people on temporary visas are eligible for Medicare under special provisions, including reciprocal agreements between Australia and certain countries. Seek advice from your migration agent or lawyer about whether you may be eligible for Medicare – especially if you have recently applied for or obtained a new type of visa.
If you are not eligible for Medicare, there are a number of ways you may be able to access HIV medication. One way is to get a prescription from an HIV specialist doctor and then pay full price (which will be expensive). If you have private medical insurance, it may cover some of the cost. Another option is to obtain free antiretroviral treatment by joining a research study.
You can also purchase generic HIV medications online. It is very important that you choose a reputable supplier to make sure the drugs are safe and that continuity of service is assured. Purchasing online requires a prescription from an HIV specialist doctor. Explain to your doctor that you’ll be buying HIV treatments online and ask the doctor to help you ensure you are ordering the correct medication.
For detailed information and advice on options for purchasing HIV treatments without a Medicare card, see NAPWHA’s How to access care and treatment.